West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday slammed the BJP for the violence in Howrah and asked why should people suffer for ‘BJP’s sin’, referring to former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s controversial comment on Prophet Muhammad which started the clash. “I have said this before. There are some political parties behind what is happening in Howrah. They want to cause riots but these will not be tolerated. Strict action will be taken against all of the. BJP’s sin, why should people suffer?” Banerjee tweeted.
Howrah, where West Bengal secretariat Nabanna is situated, witnessed violent protests since Thursday over the controversial comments made by Nupur Sharma. On Friday, the government ordered the suspension of the internet till 6am on Monday to prevent the spread of any rumour.
On Saturday, fresh clashes broke out between protesters and the police in the city, though police said the situation was peaceful. “The situation in Howrah district is peaceful. No incident of protest or violence has been reported since Friday night. We have deployed huge police contingents in sensitive areas,” a police officer told PTI. Section 144 has been extended till June 15.
West Bengal BJP vice president Saumitra Khan on Saturday wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah urging him to deploy central forces in the state to “keep Bengal safe”. “To keep the people of Bengal safe, you (Amit Shah) should appoint a central force at the earliest and entrust the security of West Bengal to them so that the people of West Bengal can get freedom from the oppressive and tyrannical government,” his wrote in the letter.
“…on June 9, in name of protests in Howrah, National Highway was blocked for six hours, affecting a lot of people. Similarly, on June 10, a terrifying situation was witnessed at Park Circus, while the Rohingya (Muslims) and the goons of Trinamool Congress (TMC) thrashed police personnel at the Domjur police station,” the BJP MP claimed.
Mamata Banerjee who condemned Nupur Sharma’s statement and demanded her arrest earlier urged the protesters that there was no use of protesting in Bengal, blocking roads and railway tracks. “I will request you (protestors) on behalf of the common people to call off the blockades as nothing has happened in West Bengal. Go to New Delhi and protest, where there is a BJP government. Go to Gujarat and UP,” Mamata Banerjee had said.