Sporadic low intensity blasts, including one at a hospital, rocked Kankinara and Bhatpara areas of North 24 Parganas district on Monday after police carried out raids at several places and recovered around 50 crude bombs. There was no report of any casualty.
Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits assembly of more than four persons, has been imposed in the area following the fresh wave of violence that began since the Lok Sabha elections in May.
“Some anti-socials hurled bombs in the area, thereby leading to panic among the residents. Today, they attacked a hospital,” said a police officer of Jagdal police station. Miscreants vandalised Bhatpara Municipality office as well as the front office of Matri Bhawan Hospital, said police.
At least two persons have been arrested so far in connection with the violence. Ajoy Thakur, Deputy Commissioner (Zone 1) of the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate said, “Some miscreants hurled bombs in three places on Monday, but now the situation is under control.”
Police along with Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have been deployed in the area, with many shops, market places and business establishments downing their shutters, he said.
Police have also started conducting nakka checking, patrolling and raids at various places, Thakur said. Rail services were hit on the Barrackpore-Naihati section of Eastern Railway’s Sealdah Division for two hours on Monday morning after locals reportedly squatted on the tracks to protest against violence.
“From 9.05 am, train services were affected as a group people obstructed train movement at Kankinara station over non-railway cause,” a statement issued by the Railways stated.
The Eastern Railway tried to maintain services up to Barrackpore and Naihati for peak hour passengers. Normal train services resumed at 11.15 am. “16 EMU locals got delayed and 20 EMU had to be cancelled. Two pairs of EMU were short-terminated, while three Express trains were detained enroute,” the Railways added.
Sources said the latest round of violence began with the death of a suspected criminal, 30-year-old Prabhu Shaw, in an encounter in Kankinara on Friday. The next day, bombs were hurled near Bhatpara police station in which eight persons were injured. Meanwhile, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP accused each other of fomenting trouble in the area for their political benefits.
The BJP accused the police of acting in a bipartisan manner, while the TMC accused the BJP of not allowing peace to return to the area.
“The situation is tense in the area because of the police. They are partial and are not taking action against the real culprits,” said BJP MP Arjun Singh.
A local TMC leader blamed the BJP for violence in the area. “The BJP is fomenting trouble in the area for its personal benefit. Just to establish its control in the area they are creating violence. This is a part of their plan to malign the image of TMC government,” said a TMC leader.
“They (BJP leaders) have no work. All the violence incidents are being created by supporters of Arjun Singh,” the leader added. A TMC citadel for long, Bhatpara has been witnessing frequent post-poll violence between the rival parties. At least two persons had been killed and 11 others injured in violent clashes in the area since the Lok Sabha polls.
The political fight intensified ever since Arjun Singh crossed over from the TMC to the BJP and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, under which Bhatpara and Kankinara fall.
In the by-election to the Bhatpara assembly seat that was held along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh’s son, Pawan Singh, defeated TMC candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.