One person was killed and several others were injured as violence flared up again at Bhatpara in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Thursday. The police opened fire to quell the violence and impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 in the affected areas.
BJP MP Arjun Singh alleged that the the victim was shot in the head by the police "from point-blank range" while six others received bullet injuries.
None of the police officers, including Barrackpore Police Commissioner Tanmay Roychowdhury, could be contacted despite repeated attempts.
The violence erupted on a day the new Bhatpara police station was scheduled to be inaugurated by Director General of Police Virendra. But such was the ferocity of the clash that the DG returned midway and rushed to the state secretariat Nabanna where the government called an urgent meeting to tackle the situation.
While state Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay announced after the meeting that the new police station has become functional, Virendra returned to Bhatpara with more reinforcements and reviewed the situation with senior police officers.
The condition of some of the injured is reportedly very critical.
"My husband went out of the house on hearing about some disruption. He was hit by a bullet on his head," the victim's wife said.
According to locals, miscreants threw bombs and fired at each other. The police opened fire after teargas shells failed to control the situation.
Police have recovered some arms and crude bombs from the area.
"The West Bengal government is taking a serious view of the deterioration of law and order situation in areas like Jagaddal, Bhatpara and other places under Barrackpore police commissionerate. Section 144 has been imposed... All efforts are being made to restore normalcy," Bandopahyay said.
The Rapid Action Force has been deployed and fresh police reinforcements sent to the area, which has been volatile for over a month now, largely due to clashes between BJP and the Trinamool Congress activists for capturing political turf.
"A new police station has been opened in Bhatpara. Route marches will be conducted and ADG south Bengal Sanjay Singh has been sent to the spot," the newly appointed Home Secretary said.
Bandopadhyay said some anti-socials are active in the area and some outsiders are also joining them resulting in the disruption of normal law and order situation.
"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other officers are looking into the matter with utmost seriousness," he said.
"Since I am in Delhi, the police have allowed some Trinamool activists to do all this. They are a mute witness to looting and violence over the last three days. They are giving free hand to them (Trinamool activists) and the total game-plan has been hatched by the police. Seven people have been shot at," BJP MP Arjun Singh said.
On the other hand, Trinamool leader Madan Mitra pointed out that Bhatpara has been witnessing violence for over a month.
"It is sad that Arjun Singh has cited police firing for a person's death. Police officers have said that they fired in the air," Mitra said.
"The BJP is seeped in politics of violence. Even if the administration tries to control the situation, they are targeting those officers who are risking their lives to restore peace in the area," said Mitra.
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