Kolkata: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday continued to blame each other over the violence in Bhatpara Assembly constituency – that voted in a bypoll last Sunday – while over 60 people have been arrested.
The by-polls were necessitated after Arjun Singh, who defected to the BJP from Trinamool Congress, resigned as Bhatpara MLA to contest the Lok Sabha polls. His son Pawan Kumar Singh is fighting the Assembly by-polls on a BJP ticket. He faces former minister Madan Mitra of the Trinamool.
“Police are beating up women and their role has called for immense protests. It is highly shameful. I want Election Commission to deploy military here and assign a special observer to oversee law and order and restore peace,” Singh said.
On the other hand, Mitra alleged that BJP workers had torched the residences of Trinamool workers and councillors and the party has informed the District Magistrate about the situation.
“We want the rule of law to be in place immediately. If it is not established, people will take the matter in their hands,” he said.
Earlier, state Food Minister and Trinamool North 24 Parganas district President Jyotipriyo Mullick had blamed Singh and the central forces for disruptions and obstruction of trains at Kakinara station.
“Singh and his men are creating trouble. They are setting shops and houses on fire, disrupting trains and harassing the public. The paramilitary forces, deployed during the elections, are also supporting them. We have met the District Magistrate and sought their arrest within 24 hours,” he said.
Police have made several arrests and deployed the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation. “Till morning 62 people were arrested. Raids are on and there have been more arrests. Some explosive material has also been recovered,” a senior officer of Barrackpore Police commissionerate said.
He said prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning assembly of more than four people in an area, have been imposed and police pickets posted. “We are announcing that people should not believe in rumours,” the officer added.