As VHP, Mamata edge toward confrontation, cops caught in the middle

Raniganj Policemen patrol a street in Raniganj that was hit by arson during a Ram Navami procession | PTI

The IPS Officers Association in West Bengal on Tuesday expressed its shock and dismay over injuries sustained by several police officers in the state including an IPS officer who lost his right hand in a bomb attack at Raniganj on Monday.

The officer was seriously injured on the second day of Ram Navami processions led by BJP and Trinamool Congress and other Hindu organisations like VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena and Hindu Sanmhati.

The IPS Officers Association on Tuesday issued a note that stated, “It pains to see this (the injuries of IPS officer) and the tough situation that police faces. Asansol-Durgapur deputy commissioner of police and IPS officer Arindam Dutta was severely injured and lost his right hand in abhorrent violence on Monday. We wish for his speedy recovery and full restoration of his hand,” said the note.

This is not the first attack against police in West Bengal. But this is the first time the IPS Officers Association has brought out such a statement, which shows police officers' inability to contain the situation in West Bengal.

A senior IPS officer said, “The West Bengal police are facing a terrible political situation these days. Police were never made to appear so cowardly in West Bengal before.”

Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Monday criticised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly turning a 'blind eye' to the well-being of Hindus in West Bengal and asked her not to continue with her 'appeasement' policy.

VHP’s national spokesman Vinod Bansal said, “Is the Hindu a second-class citizen in West Bengal? Or does Mamata want to convert West Bengal into a Bangladesh where Hindus observe their festivals under the fear of Islam? The VHP again warns Mamata Banerjee that if the atrocities against Hindus continue like this, then the Bengali Hindus will be constrained to take things into their own hands to protect themselves and their Dharma.”

Bansal alleged Hindus were attacked by Trinamool Congress members during Ram Navami celebrations.

“Despite attacks on the Bengali Hindus, Mamata has the temerity to ask whether Ram used to carry guns and swords. VHP challenges Mamata Banerjee to ask same questions to Paigambar Mohammad during Muharram. Does she have the guts to do that?” Bansal declared.

The West Bengal chief minister, during an administrative meeting on Monday, asked the police to slap arms cases against the BJP and other Hindu leaders.

She asked in the meeting, “Why are arms used on Ram Navami? Did Ram ask them to use arms?”

The statement of the VHP portends a confrontation of Hindu rightwing groups with Banerjee in the coming days.

But IPS officers feel that in the midst of this confrontation, they would be the casualties again, like Arindam Dutta.