The rioting on Mohammed row has now reached West Bengal, and the situation is beyond control. On Thursday, June 9, a mob of unruly rioters jammed the National Highway connecting Howrah and Kolkata. This led to a significant traffic crisis and public inconvenience. The demonstration was in response to former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s remarks about the Prophet of Islam on a Live TV debate.
The demonstrators, sporting skull caps and lungi, created a ruckus on NH116. They shouted Islamist slogans and set tires on fire. Videos of the violence circulating on social media (SM) show dark smoke engulfing the Kolkata skies.
As per reports, the blockade began at 10:30 am from Nibra, the Kona Expressway-NH16 junction, and ended only at 9:30 pm. The protests extended to the AJC Bose Road in Kolkata, around 12 km from the epicenter. Some Twitter users claim that the blockade had continued for over 10 hours. Vehicles were brought to a halt till a distance of over 20 kilometers. The raucous mob had occupied the streets and had no consideration for the inconvenience caused to others. Many travelers were forced to abandon their vehicles and walk through those dangerous protests.
One Facebook user shared his experience and said that the bus he was traveling on was vandalized to bits. The rioters had also thrown a bomb at the bus while people were still inside and people ran wherever they could.
Reportedly, the situation only worsened after the Friday namaz on June 10. Visuals from the site of violence show how the police and the State machinery stood like mute spectators as the rioters went on to disrupt public life.
On Friday evening, the murderous mob resorted to arson and burnt down public property in various parts of the twin cities of Kolkata-Howrah. Howrah (Gramin) saw an onslaught of violent Islamists. The BJP office in Howrah was vandalized and set ablaze. As a result, the administration decided to suspend internet services in this area till 6 am on Monday. The same was declared through an order issued by the Home and Hill Affairs Department. The order stated that these services were halted to prevent the spread of rumors of unlawful activities.
Mamata Banerjee asks Islamists to protest in UP, Delhi, or Gujarat instead of West Bengal
Instead of taking action against the mob that disrupted the regular lives of the citizens, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed them to disrupt public life in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat.
During a press conference organized in West Bengal secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee pleaded with the rioters with folded hands. In her address, she stated, “Why should we suffer due to communal politics of some with an aim for narrow political gains? Go protest in UP, Gujarat…states where BJP is in power. But they are not in power in Bengal, so don’t do this for publicity here.”
She also lamented that the people of her state were suffering due to the remarks of an ex-BJP spokesperson.
“We are all requesting with folded hands to move away from blockade politics. Someone will provoke for a day. Tomorrow, no one will be around! If there is a riot tomorrow, no one will have an answer,” she continued.
ANI quoted the CM, adding, “I don’t support such a (violent) protest. If you all are so annoyed, then go to Delhi & protest there peacefully & demand the PM’s resignation. Why are you creating a problem here? I request you all to maintain peace & withdraw the protest.”
She also pleaded, “People are suffering. Everyone is sitting in the car for hours. What are they to blame? What is their crime? Why should people suffer for the BJP? I beg you to spare people. I don’t allow road blockades or strikes. Please don’t take revenge on people.”
Further, she asked, “Will you be happy if you kill me?”
Sitting beside the CM, TMC Minister and mayor Firhad Hakim asserted that Islam is a religion of peace and it doesn’t support disorders, unrest, or trouble.