At least three people, including a Class 8 student were injured after yet another skirmish broke out between the ruling Trinamool Congress (AITC) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in West Bengal’s Bankura district late Saturday evening. Fresh clashes erupted between the rival parties after a group of BJP workers chanted 'Jai Shri Ram' at Trinamool Congress MP Suvendu Adhikary's public meeting in Bankura this evening.
Police had resorted to firing to quell the rioting mobs, injuring a few along with a class eight student. The injured have been shifted to the nearby Bankura Medical College and Hospital.
The slogan 'Jai Shri Ram' has been at the centre of political controversies from the last few months. In numerous instances, Banerjee had lost her cool when some BJP supporters chanted 'Jai Shri Ram' at her rallies. She accused the BJP of being a party of outsiders that does not understand the culture of Bengal and is trying to create unrest in West Bengal by "mixing religion with politics".
At least seven persons were detained on March 31 for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan when Banerjee's motorcade passed through North 24 Parganas district of the state. An infuriated Banerjee came out of her car and allegedly asked her security officials to note down the name of the persons involved in it.
The incident brought back memories of a similar episode in early May in West Midnapore district. A video had showed Banerjee losing her temper when some men chanted 'Jai Shri Ram' at her motorcade. The BJP also hit back at the West Bengal government, saying more Banerjee protests against the chant the more public support she would lose in the state.
Saturday's Bankura violence comes amid heightened tensions between the warring parties in Bhatpara municipality of North 24 Parganas district, where prohibitory order under Section 144 is in force. A Trinamool Congress citadel for long, Bhatpara has been witnessing frequent post-poll violence between the rival parties.
Earlier in the day, fresh clashes broke out between BJP and Trinamool workers during which crude countrymade bombs and stones were hurled by them at each other, leaving several persons injured. A huge police contingent led by Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma conducted route march as part of the area domination exercise. On Thursday, Bhatpara had witnessed clashes between groups suspected to be affiliated to the Trinamool and the BJP in which two persons were killed and 11 others injured.
The fight has intensified ever since Arjun Singh crossed over from the Trinamool Congress to the BJP and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, under which Bhatpara falls. In the by-election to the Bhatpara assembly seat that was held along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh's son, Pawan Singh, defeated Trinamool candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.