The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clash anniversary puts district on edge

Canning (South 24-Parganas), March 9: The district administration is jittery as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists here have threatened to go ahead with a programme in Taldi on March 16 to mark the death of an activist last year.

A confidential report from the CID about the anniversary programme has led to a heavy police bandobast and an on-its-toes administration.

Tapas Haldar was killed in police firing on March 10, 2002, when the sub-division was rocked by communal violence on the first day of a week-long kirtan festival. Many, including several policemen, were injured in the clashes.

This year, supporters of the two saffron outfits are divided over organising the kirtan programme because of the ongoing Madhyamik examination. The scheduled anniversary was postponed from March 10 to 16.

Kamal Mandal of the VHP said there was nothing wrong in going ahead with the kirtan programme. “Those who sparked off the violence last year were neither members of the VHP nor the Bajrang Dal. They were CPM-backed anti-socials who did not care about the Madhyamik,” he said.

District Bajrang Dal leader Dinanath Gharami opposed the programme. “If anyone tries to organise the kirtan, it will be an anti-party activity,” he said.

The police had picked up several VHP and Dal supporters for the violence last year.

The administration is geared to prevent a repeat of last year. “We cannot allow any congregation at any place that may create law and order problems. I have asked the sub-divisional officer to keep a strict watch so that no one can incite people,” said additional superintendent of police (rural) S.S. Panda.

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