Kolkata, Mar 28 (PTI) A senior West Bengal minister today accused the BJP of fomenting trouble in the state “using the name of Lord Rama” and warned the party that steps would be taken against those violating the law by the administration which was capable of maintaining peace.
Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said attempts were made to create unrest in places such as Raniganj and Asansol but the administration had handled the situation there.
On the Centre seeking a report from the state government on the violence, Chatterjee said he was not aware of any such letter.
He also refused to comment when asked about the Central government’s offer to send paramilitary forces to the state.
“Media reports have mentioned the Centre’s offer but a decision in this regard has to be taken by the chief minister,” Chatterjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress secretary-general, told reporters here.
He said the state police were competent and had tackled many difficult situations in the past.
The Centre has sought a report from the West Bengal government on incidents of arson and violence during Ram Navami processions in the last two days and offered assistance to deal with the situation, an official spokesperson said.
To a question on whether the state government had advised the Governor not to visit Raniganj, Chatterjee said “I do not know (about that)”.
Asked if he thought the Governor should visit the troubled area, the minister said, “Let peace be restored there. One can always go”.
Governor K N Tripathi today appealed for peace in the state and said everybody should perform their religious practice peacefully.
“There should not be any riot or violence. And people should perform their religious practice peacefully,” Tripathi told PTI.
Accusing the BJP of fanning trouble in the state, Chatterjee said party workers could take out processions but should not carry arms.
Referring to state BJP president Dilip Ghosh’s allegation that its workers were provoked by the police, the minister said, “They have carried arms. If the police took action, is it a provocation? Action will be taken if there is any violation of law.” “The BJP is fomenting unrest in the state using the name of Lord Rama,” he said.
On the BJP’s charge that TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had gone to Delhi when there was trouble in West Bengal, Chatterjee said, “She is there in the interest of the people. She is there to share people’s agony created by the BJP”.
Heavy police force was deployed in the Raniganj area of West Bengal yesterday after clashes broke out between two groups on Monday over a Ram Navami procession in which one person was killed and two police officers were injured, a district official said.
In another incident, one person was killed and five police personnel were injured in a group clash in Purulia on Sunday.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.