VHP’s Ram Navami rally saw people carrying swords, lathis: NIA FIRtext_fields
Kolkata: The communal clashes that occurred in connection with the Ram Navami procession taken out by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in West Bengal’s Howrah on March 30 saw people wielding swords, lathis and other weapons, according to an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency.
Incidents of communal clashes between the two religious groups were reported in several parts of West Bengal in connection with the Ram Navami festival, leading Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly and a member of the BJP to move Calcutta High Court seeking the NIA investigation into the violence and clashes.
The NIA registered six cases related to the violence during Ram Navami processions, focusing on matters pertaining to the Explosives Act.
An NGO called Anjani Putra Sena was also conducting a separate procession in the same area. The NIA's investigation revealed that the VHP-led procession, which followed the Anjani Putra Sena's procession, witnessed participants prominently displaying swords, lathis, and other weapons, which heightened tensions and increased the risk of violence.
One of the registered First Information Reports (FIRs) was filed by Inspector Arup Kumar Roy of Shibpur police station. It detailed the chaotic situation that unfolded during the procession of Anjani Putra Sena, alleging the throwing of bricks and stones from nearby buildings.
According to the complaint, this led to retaliatory actions by the followers of Anjani Putra Sena, who brandished deadly weapons such as swords and lathis. Additionally, indecent gestures were reportedly made, insulting the modesty of women.
Another FIR, also lodged by Inspector Roy, described the presence of a large police contingent deployed on GT Road and the PM Basti area on March 31. During the afternoon prayers at a nearby mosque, a chaotic situation occurred when both communities accused each other of pelting stones and bricks from adjacent apartments.
Subsequently, vandalism ensued, with people from the PM Basti area causing damage with deadly weapons and throwing various objects towards the nearby apartment of the opposing community. In retaliation, residents from neighbouring localities attacked individuals from the opposite community by pelting stones and bricks, resulting in partial damage to shops and houses. Some properties were also partly gutted using explosive items and inflammable substances allegedly possessed by the assailants.
In another FIR, registered by sub-inspector Piyali Biswas from Rishra police station, a rally involving approximately 1,000 to 1,200 people turned violent in front of Baro Masjid Rishra on April 2. The clash between the two communities escalated into stone-pelting and the use of crude bombs, causing severe injuries.
A separate case was registered by Sub-Inspector Biswanath Mitra from the Dalkhola police station. The complaint reported an unauthorized Ram Navami rally on March 30, which assembled at Tajamul Chowk without prior permission. When the rally reached the Chowk, where Muslim individuals were offering namaz near a mosque, tensions flared. The rally participants became agitated and started pelting stones at the police and the individuals from the other community.