Ram Navami audiotapes: Fanatic Muslims, mute spectator police & stones

 36 arrested and 10 injured after clash broke out in Ram Navami procession in West Bengal. The incident has sparked a war of words between the Bengal BJP and ruling TMC over incidents of Ram Navami violence in Howrah.

| Updated: 31 March, 2023 3:24 pm IST

A clash broke out in Howrah, West Bengal between two groups following a Ram Navami procession, resulting in the arrest of 36 people and 10 injuries. According to official sources, more than five police personnel were also injured. The situation is currently under control with heavy deployment of police, including riot control force, in the area to prevent any further untoward incident.

The BJP has claimed that the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) received all the necessary permissions for taking out the Ram Navami procession, while the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee is misleading people. ““The claims made by the Trinamool Congress regarding the incident in Howrah are completely baseless and false. The procession took the only route that would lead to Howrah Maidan, and there is no question of it being the wrong route. The TMC has alleged that any route passing through Muslim areas is the wrong route, but this is not accurate. Mamata Banerjee deliberately incited fanatic Muslims (not all Muslims) to attack the procession,”  said Dr. Sukanta Majumdar, State President BJP.

In response, the Chief Minister has said that using an unauthorized route led to the clash and stringent action will be taken against the miscreants. “No permission was granted to the procession as the organizers had not provided details mandatorily asked by the police,” said a police official. “The organizers did not even submit documents that were asked from them. Following all these, the procession was deemed ‘unauthorized’ and ‘without permission.'”

Amit Malviya, Co-Incharge West Bengal, tweeted, “VHP had all the permissions for taking out the Ramanavami Shobha Yatra from BE College to Ramkrishnapur Ghat. They were on the approved route. Mamata Banerjee lied when she said the route had been changed. She prejudiced the investigation and law enforcement agencies. Shameful.”

Explaining the trail of events Ram Navami Shobha Yatra convener Indra Deo Dubey said, “On March 3rd, we shared our planned route with three police stations that were along the way, and submitted all the necessary details. We also shared this information with the Police Commissioner of Howrah. In an application that we filed, we included all the relevant details such as the specific points of the procession route, the slogans that would be used, the number of vehicles and people involved, and other pertinent information. We had several meetings with the police to explain everything, and our most recent meeting occurred on the 29th. On the 30th, the Commissioner of Police himself was present at the starting point. Due to last year’s incident, we had already informed the police to deploy more officials and increase the number of CCTV cameras.”

“We were peacefully walking when suddenly stones were thrown from above, causing panic and chaos. A fight broke out, and men, women, and children began running to save their lives. I also sustained minor injuries. Members of the minority community began attacking in front of police, torching vehicles and bikes. Our Ram Rath was vandalized, and the sound system was destroyed. Several people were injured, and some Hindus had to flee their homes out of fear. Many of our innocent men have been arrested, despite our posters having no political symbols and featuring only Lord Ram’s photo and ‘Jai Shree Ram’ with the local Ram Rath Yatra committee present,” said Indra Deo Dubey, who has been associated with the VHP for years. He also expressed concern that the police did not provide adequate security despite prior alerts, leading to the arrest of innocent men. The situation in the Shibpur area remains tense, with fresh incidents of stone pelting in the presence of police officials.

 The clash led to the burning of vehicles on the road, chaos, and injuring people as they ran for safety after 5:30 in the evening. The organizers said that they would conduct the rally till 8 pm; however, the police clearly stated that they have to wrap it up by 5 in the evening.

As per Police sources the last five years, this area has been seeing Ram Navami processions, which have been peaceful. However, this year’s procession took an unapproved route and resulted in the clash, said a Police official. 

The incident has sparked a war of words between the Bengal BJP and ruling TMC over incidents of Ram Navami violence in Howrah.


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