Kartik Ghosh, 65, was returning home on a motorbike on Wednesday when he ran into a communal clash triggered by an 'objectionable' Facebook post by a Class X student in North 24 Parganas. Ghosh, a local shop owner, was attacked with knives. He was brought to the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata but died of his stab wounds on Thursday — the first casualty of the violence that has swept the area since a pre-dominantly Muslim mob went on a rampage after the Facebook post.
Clashes broke out in Baduria locality, under the Basirhat sub-division, and its adjoining areas — Keosha market, Banshtala, Ramchandrapur and Tentulia.
The Times of India quoted Ghosh's son as saying that he had no links with any political party and got trapped in the clash in Kakra. He was found lying in a pool of blood while his family sought the help of police to take him to a hospital as Basirhat stayed under prohibitory orders.
The report stated that BJP leaders Locket Chatterjee and Jayprakash Majumdar were stopped from entering the hospital. Interestingly, BJP's national secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters present at the hospital that the deceased was a BJP worker, despite his family claiming otherwise.
Another person, Fazlur Islam, who was brought to the hospital with injuries after the clash, is said to be stable.
While violence broke out in the North 24 Parganas, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi traded insults. Mamata said the Governor threatened her over the phone, while Tripathi denied doing any such thing and accused the CM of emotionally blackmailing the people of Bengal.
"TMC thinks bad-mouthing the governor would bottle him up. But they are mistaken. He is a dedicated soldier of the 'Modi Vahini'. So, he will keep walking the path of truth," BJP's national general secretary Rahul Sinha told reporters, in a way validating Education Minister Partha Chatterjee's charge that the Governor was close to the Bharatiya Janata Party, ruling at the Centre.
"Today, the cat is out of the bag. We have been saying for the last few days that the Governor's house has been transformed into a BJP office," Chatterjee said.
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PTI reports: Police lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to baton charge even as the state government decided to ban some organisations for allegedly instigating people.
"There may be some reports of small incidents, but the situation is under control," a senior official at the state secretariat asserted. Police and BSF personnel immediately rushed to the area to bring the situation under control. It was also learnt that if these organisations try to hold any meeting or rally, they will have to inform the police and seek prior permission.
'Don't Spread Hatred'
Four companies of paramilitary forces (around 400 personnel) are already present in Baduria. North 24 Parganas district officials said life in Baduria and surrounding areas returned to normal.
Shops and markets reopened, bus services resumed and local residents started coming out of their homes. However, Internet services continued to be disrupted and paramilitary forces and police remained posted in the troubled areas.
Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purakayastha has requested people to refrain from spreading hatred and not to step into any kind of provocation.
"Those spreading rumours and indulging in hate posts and false propaganda shall not be spared. Please respect the law of the land. Malicious efforts to create divides and attempts to take law in own hands will be sternly dealt with. Please don't heed rumours," the DGP said.
TMC Leader Causes Upset
Telegraph reported that police picked up some suspects after Dipendu Biswas, Basirhat South MLA from TMC, led to police to some of the Hindu homes, leading to anger among TMC supporters in the area. No sooner than 15 men from the community were arrested, hundreds of people hit the streets again, vandalising vehicles, and clashing with the police. They swooped down on the police station in an attempt to free the men.
The Trinamool leadership is said to be upset with Biswas, Telegraph reported quoting a source. "He managed to turn Trinamool against Trinamool in Basirhat town," the party source added.
Biswas has been summoned to the party headquarters after residents alleged that he accompanied the police in Harishpur and Mailakhola villages during a search for weapons in Hindu-dominated areas.