Violence-hit Bhatpara sees deserted streets as tension persists

Violence-hit Bhatpara in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Sunday wore a deserted look as very few people stepped out in the town amidst prohibitory orders while BJP MP Arjun Singh asked the administration to restore normalcy.

Shops remained closed as an atmosphere of panic and apprehension prevailed in the area under the Barrackpore industrial belt, three days after clashes that claimed two lives and left at least four people injured.

Kankinara market, which otherwise bustles with buyers on Sundays, remained empty with very few people moving out of their houses.

Singh, the former Trinamool Congress local MLA who defected to the BJP just before the elections and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, said he was talking to businessmen to resume work.

“By not operating buses, normalcy cannot be restored. I am holding meetings with businessmen asking them to resume work and have asked police to make announcements in area,” he said after the meeting with local people.

Meanwhile, Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Kumar Verma who took charge on Friday was seen moving in the area and taking up confidence-building measures.

But local people were still chary.

“We are unable to run our business normally due to the disturbances in the area. For the last 35 days, we could hardly open our shops as miscreants are hurling bombs every now and then,” a local businessman said.

Another businessman, who attended Singh’s meeting, said there is no point in opening shops if no customers turn up.

A number of police pickets have been set up at important crossings near Ghoshpara and Kalyani highway to prevent outsiders from entering the area. Police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel carried on with their area domination work.

A three-member delegation, comprising Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs S.S. Ahluwalia, Satya Pal Singh and Vishnu Dayal Ram, had visited the house of the two deceased – Rambabu Shaw and Dharambir Shaw – in Bhatpara on Saturday afternoon.

Fresh tension erupted shortly after the delegation left the area as a group of locals agitated against the police accusing them of inaction and pelted stones at the personnel on duty.

Police resorted to a baton charge on two occasions to disperse the mob resulting in one person sustaining a head injury.

The region, which falls under the Barrackpore parliamentary constituency, has been tense since the election results were announced on May 23.

Protesting against the police brutality, BJP workers led by Arjun Singh, held a demonstration outside the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate on Friday.


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