Cover Story

Communal flare up at Raniganj on Diwali

  Clashes between the members of two communities in Raniganj on Diwali evening disturbed the atmosphere of the otherwise peaceful town of Raniganj. The residents of Rajabandh, a Muslim dominated locality and Harijan Para clashed over the use of mike and objectionable songs hurting the sentiments of the Muslims. People said that the delayed action of the police caused the tension to flare up into a confrontation in which several people including a woman were injured. After the local police failed to control the situation and the councillor called the Mayor of Asansol Municipal Corporation who contacted the Disrtrict Police Commissionerate, the forces were sent to the area. The situation was brought under control but after much delay and certain questions have been raised on the way the administration handled the situation.
Prior to the clashes, suspicious activity by strangers was observed in the area. Often strangers and outsiders were seen roaming the locality and assembling at Raja Bandh More. According to some residents, one informer was seen doing meeting with black-complexioned outsiders at Rajabandh More in the evening or late at night for months prior to the incident. He would often bring outsiders in the locality for reasons unknown. The informer disappeared days before the clashes and reappeared twenty days after the clashes. At whose behest was he working? Is there a larger conspiracy to stage riots and violence in the locality or the town? Who is behind this conspiracy? Such suspicious activity should have been taken seriously by the local police as Raniganj Police has installed CCTVs at important positions in the town to monitor the law and order situation and has a number of informers for this purpose. There are a number of civic police volunteers in the town who are supposed to keep an eye on miscreants and inform the police. The question is what they were doing on the fateful evening? Didn't they inform the police of the sensitivity of the situation or the local police ignored the information? What then is the use of keeping civic police volunteers? On the fateful evening, Police patrol van was parked at the Marwari patti and forces paraded in the Burrabazar area which were not sensitive areas whereas the sensitive area of Rajabandh-Harijan Para was left unmonitored and at the mercy of miscreants and communal elements. Do the police only care for the security of the rich and the businessmen?
After the incident, police picked up innocent youth from the Muslim locality terrorizing the people instead of taking steps to bring normalcy in the area. With CCTVs, civic volunteers, informers and modern equipments, the police now can't present excuses.
Recently communal riots in Naihati in 24 Parganas and Kaliachak and Panchla In Malda broke out. It was observed that the police was unable to contain the violence and the riots continued for days. Residents in Haji Nagar had to flee their homes because of the intensity of attacks and the police was helpless. Mamata Banerjee should take these issues into serious consideration so that miscreants and communal elements are not allowed to succeed in their communal games and tarnish her secular image.