Section 144 Imposed in Bengal’s Telinipara After Clashes Break Out

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Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was imposed in the Telinipara area of the Hooghly district in West Bengal on Tuesday, 12 May, after fresh clashes were reported in the area which saw violent clashes on Sunday.

According to local sources, crude bombs were hurled in the area as two groups clashed over COVID-19 containment in the area. There was massive police deployment in the area and as per the last report, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) was conducting peace marches.

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Clashes broke out at the Telinipara area of Hooghly on Sunday evening between two communities after some people tested positive for COVID-19 there.

Local sources say that the trouble began when a few people of Telinipara were tested positive a few days ago. After this, the police had asked the entire area to maintain the lockdown. However, on Sunday, when they saw that the lockdown was being violated, the police tried to take those who tested positive to an isolation ward. In the process, the area was also barricaded.

Sources say that the police faced the ire of the locals when they made an attempt to take the patients to the isolation ward. Thereafter, people from a neighbouring locality descended on the area demanding that no one from there be allowed to move out.

The people from the other locality then started creating their own barricades around the area, and that is when clashes between the two groups started.

Crude bombs were hurled, shops were vandalised and vehicles destroyed.

Thereafter, the police detained 37 people for rioting.

On Monday, Home Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay said in a tweet:

“Last evening, swift and strong action was taken in Telinipara against those who were trying to disturb the peace. The situation was immediately brought under control. Telinipara is peaceful now.”

However, hours after this tweet, reports once again emerged of tensions in Telinipara.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hit out at the state government for what it has called a "communal clash" and a complete breakdown of law and order.

"When police tried to take the COVID-19-infected people belonging to a particular community, in Malda (Harishchandrapur) and in Hooghly (Chandannagar), they were vehemently opposing such action. On the other hand, the houses of the Hindus, their shops, temples are being demolished", said BJP state President Dilip Ghosh in a tweet on Monday.

The West Bengal Police and state administration are yet to react on the fresh round of violence that ensued in the area.

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