Clashes erupted in West Bengal’s Purulia after the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) held a rally on the occasion of Ram Navami, leaving one person dead. A puja pandal was also attacked in Bardhaman district.
Despite the disapproval of the local administration, the BJP held rallies across the state in which party’s leaders, including party chief Dilip Ghosh, were seen participating. The people in the rallies were seen carrying weapons like swords and tridents and dressed up in traditional Indian attires.
In Purulia, one person died and four others, including three police officers, were injured in the rally held without any permission. 15 people were arrested later in connection with the incident.
Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborty, the chief of the state’s Child Rights Commission, was quoted saying that children holding heavy arms were also seen participating in the rally.
The BJP, however, claimed that the Trinamool Congress was behind the attack at the puja pandal in Bardhaman. State president Dilip Ghosh also participated in a rally in West Midnapore, carrying a heavy sword.
The party’s women wing president Locket Chatterjee was seen carrying a trident, while party’s national secretary Rahul Sinha was seen holding heavy arms in the rally.
West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that weapons will only be carried in areas where Ram Navmi is traditionally celebrated by holding rallies, the activists were seen carrying weapons in many areas.
Ghosh had warned the local administrators of the clashes saying “If the administration tries to forcibly stop the rallies, clashes may occur.”
Mamata Banerjee, however, had made it clear that peaceful rallies had to be held. She said, “We are not against organisations holding Ram Navami processions but they have to be peaceful,” after last year’s clashes in Purulia and Bardhaman. The state police was asked to tighten the security.