129 persons arrested in Telinipara communal clashes; internet services suspended

Violent clashes took place in Telinipara, WB last Sunday after members of one community were taunted ‘corona’ by another


Days after clashes broke out between two communities at Telinipara in Hooghly district, the District Magistrate issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the area and suspended internet services there, including broadband in the Chandannagar and Serampore subdivisions till 6 PM on Sunday. The decision to curb internet services was taken after fake news and misinformation about the clashes started circulating on social media platforms, The Indian Express reported.

A total of 129 people have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the clashes that broke out in Telinipara after members of one community reportedly got into a verbal altercation with people of another community over why they were roaming around during the lockdown even after five members of their community had tested positive for Covid-19.

On Sunday, May 10, clashes broke out there after members of a community were taunted as “corona” by some people who belonged to another group, Scroll.in reported. Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humanyun Kabir said, “Some people were addressed as ‘corona’. And it all started from there. After a verbal spat, one group blocked another from entering a community bathroom in the Victoria Jute Mills area of Telinipara, which led to a fight.”

“Bombs were hurled and shops were ransacked on Sunday evening, Kabir said, adding that a huge team of police was sent there to control the situation. The police baton-charged people and fired 26 rounds of tear gas and ten rounds of rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

“We have initiated six cases in connection with spreading of inflammatory message through social media. We have identified some persons and have already served notices to them,” he added.

Post the incident, the Home Department of West Bengal had tweeted saying that the police would not allow any provocation and strict action would be taken against anyone who tried to create disturbance, including those who were posting and circulating false information.



The department also said that some people were “trying to spread the communal virus to further their political interests”. Speaking about the incident CM Mamata Banerjee said, “I have told police to take the strictest action. Those who violated the lockdown and indulged in communal clashes will be tried under the National Disaster Management Act. None will be spared. We will not see whether the person belongs to community A or B.”

The communal faultlines that tore apart minority dominated Telinipara were further deepened after the ruling party members openly blamed the minority for executing a conspiracy to spread the coronavirus to Hindus.

BJP MP from Chandannagar, Locket Chatterjee further added to the media-created stigma against the minorities saying, “I tried to get in touch with the police, but nobody answered my phone. I am not allowed to enter the area. Hindu homes have been burnt. There is nothing political about this. The clashes are happening from one side only.”



She told the media, “I’m trying to go into the area but the police isn’t allowing me even though this is my constituency. People depend on me and want my support. The Muslims are attacking Hindus. In the communal crisis, Muslims entered Hindu homes when it was raining heavily at night, they ransacked their homes and damaged their cars. There were bomb blasts too. The people who did it are corona positive and unwilling to go to a quarantine centre. That is why they want to spread it to Hindu areas. The police didn’t do anything about it.”

Right wing leaders are only stoking the communal fires by vilifying the minorities for the incident. The pattern of the incident is eerily reminiscent of the Delhi communal clashes which took place in the capital, not long ago, in the month of February where an anti-Muslim pogrom was orchestrated.

A senior official in the district administration at Telinipara informed that that around 150 houses and 50 shops had been damaged due to the violence. The official also said that the state government intends to offer compensation for the affected families of Telinipara.



Ahmedabad violence: Court pulls up cops for charging accused under Sec 307

Delhi HC again adjourns petition about police accountability for ‘indiscriminate’ arrests: Justice delayed?



Related Articles