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Ram Navami violence: BJP team in Asansol to visit clash-hit areas

The 4-member team comprises Om Mathur, Shahnawaz Hussain, Roopa Ganguly and Vishnu Dayal Ram who will take stock of the situation in Asansol and Raniganj and submit a report to party chief Amit Shah


Days after the local police stopped local MP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babul Supriyo from visiting the violence-hit areas of Asansol in West Bengal areas a few days back, a four-member BJP delegation reached Asansol on Sunday ignoring the state administration’s ban on entering the area.

BJP president Amit Shah set up a four-member committee comprising party vice-president Om Mathur, former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly and Palamu MP and former Jharkhand DGP Vishnu Dayal Ram to take stock of the situation in Asansol-Raniganj area in West Bardhaman district where a clash broke out between Hindu and Mulsim groups following a Ram Navami rally last week.

The state government has stepped up security and issued prohibitory orders in the area. The committee, however, said it did not know about any such orders.

“We are not told about any ban on visiting the areas. Why do we need permission to go to a place within the country? We are not trying to enter another country by crossing the border,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.

“We are going to Asansol to take stock of the situation. If the administration tries to stop us, we have ways to get in there. They must give us a proper logic why we’ll not be allowed there, else we’ll go there,” Roopa Ganguly said before leaving Kolkata for Asansol.

At least rwo persons were killed while a deputy commissioner of police lost a hand after getting hit by a bomb during the clash between Hindu and Muslim groups centering on a Ram Navami procession organised by Sangh affiliates in Raniganj on Monday.

Several shops and houses were vandalised and set ablaze during the clashes.

The police stopped local MP and BJP leader Babul Supriyo from visiting the area a few days back, saying it would add to tension in the area.

The state government had said on Saturday it would not be able to provide ample security cover for the BJP delegation visiting riot-hit Asansol and Raniganj since the model code of conduct for the panchayat polls had been implemented.

“It’s up to the police to decide on this matter. If they think that presence of these leaders may hamper peace there they may take a decision of not allowing them. This is absolutely logical,” said a senior official at the state government said.

“We are keeping a watch on the situation,” he added.

The BJP team, formed by party chief Amit Shah, will submit a report to him on their return.

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi had paid a visit to the violence-hit areas of Asansol and Raniganj on Saturday. He had held a meeting with senior police and administration officials and appealed for peace. Tripathi, however, did not go to any of the Muslim-dominated areas.

Internet services have been suspended and prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC are still in force in both towns, a senior police officer said.

(With Agencies)