Ram Navami Rally: Clashes in minority area in Bengal, one killed

KOLKATA: A 55-year-old identified as Sheikh Shahjahana was killed and many others sustained severe injuries as clashes broke out during Ram Navami festival fuelling communal tension.

The violence erupted in minority- dominated Beldi village in West Bengal on Sunday when the police tried to stop a group of BJP-backed Bajrang Dal activists, an affiliate of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) from bringing out an armed processions to mark the Ram Navami occasion.

Shahjahana, a native of Purulia’s Bhursa village in Bengal got trapped in the clash when he was on his way to take a bath in which he received fatal injuries.

According to Hindustan Times, Purulia superintendent of Police Joy Biswas said, “The clash ensued when police tried to stop an armed procession being taken out by the Bajrang Dal activists. Sahajhan, along with some other villagers, got trapped in the clash in which he received fatal injuries. He was rushed to a district hospital, where he was declared dead on Sunday afternoon.”

“We have so far arrested 16 persons in this connection. The situation at Beldi continues to be tensed following the incident and a huge police contingent has been deployed there,” Biswas added.

Police personnel injured in clashes also included an officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent.

Defying the government’s directive, various right-wing groups were also seen brandishing swords during Ram Navami.

Minors carried knives and swords were seen and several armed processions were held across the state by the RSS-backed Ram Navami Udjapan Samity (Celebration Committee).

The ruling party Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata party took out rallies.