Prohibitory orders were imposed in three panchayat areas of North 24 Paragans district in West Bengal following widespread rioting and vandalism by Muslim mobs in Duttapukur on the New Year’s Eve. The riots occurred after the ‘unnatural death’ of a Muslims shopkeeper who was beaten by some people accusing him of molesting a woman on 31st December.
According to reports, Pragati Sangha, a local club, had organised a fair in Duttapukur from 25th to 31st December like every year, and Asadul Islam had put up a stall in the fair. On 31st December evening, he had an argument with a woman customer when she had come to buy some items from his stall. According to locals, Islam misbehaved with the woman and tried to molest her. The woman approached the members of the club and alleged that he had assaulted her.
Last night (31/12/2019)at Duttapukur (hatkhola, jashor road) ,North 24PGS
Attack on Hindu community and burn many shops,houses,temple. Now144@SuPriyoBabul @basusayan @DilipGhoshBJP @ArjunsinghWB @abpanandatv @BJP4Bengal @RahulSinhaBJP @jay_majumdar @MukulR_Official pic.twitter.com/96TboGOYZW
— রেখেছ বাঙালি করে মানুষ করনি – (@IamSD_2019) January 1, 2020
After this, some members of the club came and took him to the club, where they allegedly beat him. But later in the night, his body was found hanging inside the club. This news was spread like a wildfire and a large number of people from Muslim community arrived at the fair and started vandalising it. The mob went on a rampage and demolished electric posts and lights, shops and roadside stalls, vehicles etc, and set them on fire. According to some reports, a Hindu temple situated in the area was also vandalised by the mob.
The mob alleged that the club members killed Asadul. While the club members have denied the allegations. They say that they had only kept him in the club following the complaints against him, and he committed suicide due to the allegations. The mob kept the club surrounded for several hours, preventing police from retrieving the body. The club was completely ransacked by the mob, with all the furniture and other items broken and torched.
The rampage by the mob led to a clash between the two clashes, and both sides hurled bombs, stones and bricks at each other. The police force that had arrived to control the situation got caught in the fight and several policemen were injured by the flying bombs and stones. The mob also blocked railway lines and roads, and train services in the Sealdah – Bongaon section was suspended for almost a day following the violence.
Later additional police forces had to arrive to control the situation, and the body of Islam was removed from the club. Police resorted to lathi-charge and tear gas shells to control the mob. The administration suspended internet services in the area, and prohibitory under section 144 has been imposed Duttapukur, Amdanga and Deganga areas. Twelve persons have been arrested so far by the police for their alleged role in the clashes.