Political row erupts over ‘assault’ on monks in West Bengal’s Purulia

Purulia/Kolkata: A purported video of three monks being attacked by a mob in West Bengal’s Purulia over suspicion that they were “kidnappers in disguise” has triggered a political row, with opposition BJP alleging collapse of law and order in the state.

The TMC, meanwhile, accused the BJP of trying to give a communal twist to the incident.

In the video, the authenticity of which PTI could not independently verify, the monks, who were on their way to the Gangasagar Mela, could be seen getting roughed up by a group of people in Kashipur.

The Purulia Police, in a post on X, said the incident took place due to a misunderstanding.

“Facts are being misrepresented from certain quarters about a recent incident in Purulia. The fact is, on 11.01.24 afternoon, there was a misunderstanding between three Gangasagar-bound sadhus with three local minor girls near Kashipur over a language problem.

“The girls got scared, and local people manhandled the sadhus, damaging their vehicle and alleging a kidnapping attempt. Local police promptly intervened and rescued the sadhus,” it said.

Twelve people have been arrested in this regard based on a specific case, police said.

“All possible assistance was rendered to the sadhus. There is no communal overtone whatsoever regarding the incident. Anyone trying to fuel communal passions will be strictly dealt with as per law,” it added.

The post by Purulia Police was also circulated by the TMC media cell.

Reacting to the incident, Union minister Anurag Thakur, who was in the city to attend a programme, remarked on the “politics of appeasement” in West Bengal.

“The state government is not doing anything… Where is the appeasement politics taking West Bengal? Why is this anti-Hindu thought process being created?” he said.

The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister also alleged that law and order in the state has collapsed under Mamata Banerjee’s rule.

The state BJP leadership also came down heavily on the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, claiming that those behind the “assault” on the seers were linked to the ruling party.

“Shocking incident from Purulia; sadhus en route to Gangasagar were stripped and beaten by criminals linked to TMC, echoing the Palghar tragedy. Under @MamataOfficial’s rule, a terrorist like Shahjahan gets state protection while sadhus face violence. Being Hindu is a crime in WB,” BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said on ‘X’.

Majumdar said he has got in touch with the sadhus, and has assured about their safe journey to the Gangasagar Mela.

The TMC, meanwhile, dubbed the BJP’s allegations as “baseless” and accused the saffron camp of attempting to give the incident a communal twist.

“The police have taken prompt action in the case. The BJP is trying its dirty tricks and trying to give a communal twist. We condemn such an attempt. The party, before commenting on the law and order situation in Bengal, should look at the lawless situation in the BJP-ruled states,” TMC minister Shashi Panja said.