Bengal communal clashes: WION reports from Dhulagarh

The area in and around Banijyopol was dotted with torched houses. The entire lane leading to Banijyopol lay strewn with broken glass, shoes, and mobile phones.? Photograph:( WION )

WION West Bengal, India Dec 19, 2016, 03.11 PM (IST) Pooja Mehta

Clashes broke out between two communities in West Bengal’s Howrah district last Tuesday following Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations.

A procession to mark Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary had within it a mob that began to attack homes and shops.

The people of Dhulagarh claim they had to flee when their homes were attacked. And that the mob went on to loot homes, fleeing with money and jewellery. 

 

The villagers allege the mob threw bombs at their homes before looting them, and that they finally set the houses on fire. (WION)

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The villagers allege the mob threw bombs at their homes before looting them, and that they finally set the houses on fire.

“Nothing is left. We are looted of all our belongings. They ransacked and vandalised our houses and eventually set them on fire. We could not save a single penny from our houses, only managed to save our children and ran for life,” said Lakshmi Mallya, a local. 

Eyewitnesses claim the mob was made up mostly of outsiders, and that they had never seen them in the locality. They added that the mob also torched their shops. 

“We are robbed of everything that we had. Our houses are gone, so have our shops. We do not have a single penny to even buy a meal for our family. We are in the most helpless situation. We have nowhere to go,” said Shubho Roy, a villager.

When WION visited Dhulagarh, the area in and around Banijyopol was dotted with torched houses. The entire lane leading to Banijyopol lay strewn with broken glass, shoes, and mobile phones. 

 

While most of the villagers had fled, those left behind were seen fleeing with what they could carry -- stoves, gas cylinders, bedding. (WION)

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Puffed rice and biscuits lay on the road next to partly-burnt shops. Motorcycles and bicycles lay on the lane, blackened and useless. Several buildings sported broken window panes.

Even the main door of a house of worship showed tell-tale signs of bombs having been thrown at it. Its switchboard and window panes had been smashed into small pieces. 

While most of the villagers had fled, those left behind were seen fleeing with what they could carry -- stoves, gas cylinders, bedding. 

Section 144 has been imposed and the rapid action force, fire tenders, and water cannons have been deployed to keep the peace.
 
When WION tried to speak to the superintendent of police, Howrah (rural), Sabyasachi Raman Mishra, he refused to comment on the "tensed situation".

(WION)