The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) currently in session in New Delhi has expressed deep shock and anguish over the continuing communal violence in parts of West Bengal. It has issued the following statement to the press:

Condemning Communal Riots in Parts of West Bengal

The communal disturbances in parts of West Bengal started with the violent manner in which Ram Navami was sought to be celebrated by the RSS-led organizations and BJP. The communal incidents started with Arsha in Purulia, Kakkinada in North 24 Parganas and then spreading to Raniganj and Asansol in West Burdwan district.  In each of these, the armed Ram Navami procession triggered the sequence of tensions with indiscriminate violence, looting, arson leading to deaths of several people. Till now, officially, four deaths have occurred. In Raniganj, a senior police official’s hand has been blown away in the armed violence. It is clear that West Bengal which had a track record of  communal harmony and riot-free social environment stands blemished.

Last year itself, for the first time, arms like swords, trishuls and choppers were displayed in the Ram Navami celebration with even under-aged children brandishing these arms. This year, in a conciliatory gesture, the state government allowed the processions and the display of arms.  Not only that, in keeping with the spirit of competitive communalism, the cooperation of the TMC and administration was even more blatant with the ruling party itself  giving  a call for joining the celebration with the TMC and BJP-RSS leaders jointly participating in the programmes in several places.  This is part of the vicious attempts at communal polarization spearheaded by the Hindutva forces elsewhere in the country.  The policies of appeasement of communal forces by the TMC and the  ineptitude of the State administration has  led to this lethal strike by these forces.

The CPI(M) demands urgent action by the state government to take appropriate measures to restore normalcy and peace.  The CPI(M) also appeals to all peace-loving sections of the people to firmly oppose this murderous campaign.  The CPI(M) also appeals to other Left and democratic forces to come out on the streets and articulate the concern for peace and harmony. When forces running the Central and the State Government have actively contributed to this communal conflagration, it is the people themselves, who cherish peace, unity and brotherhood, must come forward to collectively meet this challenge.