Prophet Muhammad row: Bengal BJP prez arrested on way to violence-hit Howrah
Sukanta Majumdar stopped by police at his residence. Photo: Twitter/BJP Bengal

Prophet Muhammad row: Bengal BJP prez arrested on way to violence-hit Howrah

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West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar was arrested on Saturday (June 11) as he was stopped from visiting the violence-hit Howrah district where minority groups had resorted to massive protests on Friday over former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s alleged derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

On Friday, protests erupted in several parts of the country including Howrah, Delhi, Ranchi (Jharkhand), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Hyderabad (Telangana), and Uttar Pradesh.

Also read: Protests after Prophet row: Delhi Police notice to social media entities

Majumdar was arrested for violating Section 144 of CrPC.

Protestors pelted stones, blocked roads, burnt effigies of BJP leaders and vandalised vehicles, prompting the district administration to clamp Section 144 in the area. Internet services have also been suspended across the Howrah district.

The BJP alleged that one of its local offices was also attacked.

After his arrest, Majumdar accused the Bengal Police of acting on the instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Also read: Prophet row: Protests over Prophet remark rock country; over 100 arrested in UP

“On instruction of CM @MamataOfficial, Bengal police has house arrested me. Didi, Bengal need strong action against people destroying property and disturbing peace in the state and not house arrest of BJP leaders. Your protection to them is giving fuel to the fire,” he tweeted.

Earlier, at his residence, he said, “I was scheduled to visit areas in Howrah district where our party offices were ransacked and burnt. As I was set to leave, police put up barricades outside my residence and stopped me from coming out of my house. I want to know under which rule I am being stopped from visiting Howrah.”

Dilip Ghosh visits Howrah

However, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh managed to enter Howrah district and visited the areas where the party offices were allegedly attacked.

“Very soon, Paschim Banga will become the next Bangladesh. The police and administration are mere spectators to the vandalism and arson that is taking place for two days in a row. Their silence raises questions about their support for the arson. They set fire in the state during CAA protests. In the same way, they want to grab Paschim Banga and convert it to Bangladesh,” Ghosh said.

The official Twitter handle of Bengal’s BJP unit shared pictures of Ghosh’s visit and wrote, “The BJP’s Uluberia district office was vandalized by miscreants as a result of the passive role of the police. Central Vice President Shri @DilipGhoshBJP visited the place and talked to the local staff. The BJP is on the side of every one of their workers.”

Bengal governor ‘concerned’

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said he was “concerned” about the “worsening” law and order situation in the state since May 9.

“Concerned at worsening law & order situation since May 09. Inaction @chief_west @WBPolice @KolkataPolice is unfortunate endorsement of the criminality of law violators. Appeal #MamataBanerjee to sternly deal with law breakers. All involved be identified and arrested,” he tweeted.

“Since June 09 in particular there has been awful administration failure that took no preventive and precautionary measures. Law breakers were allowed to have free for all. Only prompt exemplary action can be deterrent. Over a month situation has been cause of concern,” he said in another tweet.

Jharkhand minister appeals for peace

Meanwhile, Jharkhand minister Banna Gupta on Saturday said some “opportunist forces” conspired to disturb the peace and tranquility in state capital Ranchi in an “organised” fashion.

The peace-loving people of the state will never allow them to succeed in their nefarious design, said the health minister in a statement issued by his officer in Ranchi.

The police are discharging their responsibilities to maintain peace, and no one will be allowed to take the law into their hands, he said.

The district administrations of Palamu, Chatra and East Singhbhum are on alert, following the violence in Ranchi that has claimed two lives and resulted in the injury to at least two dozen people, many of whom are critical, officials said.

On Friday, the violent protesters in Ranchi demanded the arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled leader Naveen Jindal for their controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

Hindutva outfits have called for a bandh in Ranchi on Saturday against the violence. The city has been blanketed by heavy police cover.

Around 2,500 police personnel, including one IG rank and DIG rank officer each, six SP rank officers, 100 DSP rank officers besides two Rapid Action Force (RAF) battalions, have been deployed in sensitive areas of Ranchi city, IG (Operations) Amol V Homkar told PTI.

(With inputs from agencies)

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