Bengal police lathi charge Hindus for organising Ram pujas during the one-day lockdown on 5th August

On the day the Bhoomi Pujan for a grand Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya took place, devotees of Prabhu Shriram were attacked by police in West Bengal for organising puja violating lockdown norms. The incident happened in Kharagpur town in Medinipur district in West Bengal, where police lathi-charged Hindus for organising Ram Pujas during the one-day lockdown on 5th August.

5 August was one of the days scheduled for lockdown announced by the Mamata Banerjee led TMC govt in the state, where 7 days in the month has been selected for the lockdown. Other dates for the lockdown are 8, 20, 21, 27, 28 and 31. As these are standalone single day lockdowns, state BJP had requested to shift the 5th August’s lockdown to another date, but it was not agreed by the govt. It may be noted that the lockdown dates have been changed twice after they were announced on 31st July.  The dates were changed after receiving requests from different communities since the dates coincided with festivals, officials had said. All lockdowns scheduled on Sundays were also cancelled.

According to reports, a puja was organised by members of BJP and Hindu Jagaran Mancha at the Jagannath temple in Khargpur today, on the occasion of beginning of Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya. Police had ordered the organisers to stop the puja as lockdown restrictions are in place due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. But the organisers of the puja defied police order, and they continued with the program.

As the programs of the puja continued, a police team entered the venue and tried to stop it forcefully. This led to a clash between devotes and police, and several people from both the sides were injured as a result. After this, the police resorted to lathi charging the devotees, and they also pulled people out of the venue to stop the Puja for Ram Mandir.

A similar incident happened in Talbagicha in Kharagpur, where women workers of BJP had organised a Ram Puja. There too, a police team arrived and obstructed the proceedings. This resulted in a clash, after which the police lathi charges the women. Several persons from both sides were injured in this incident also.

Similar incidents were repeated in several other places in and around Kharagpur, where Ram Puja organised by BJP and Hindu groups were disrupted by police, and lathi charge was done on devotees. Police also removed sound systems and other facilities arranged for the Pujas.

Videos have emerged on social media showing police lathi charging Ram devotees for organising Pujas violating lockdown orders, and removing them from the venues. The video embedded with the tweet below shows police lathi charging devotees at a temple in Kharagpur.

Another video shows police forcefully removing devotees from a Puja organised at a temple. They were later taken away from the place in a bus, while the devotees were chanting Jai Sri Ram. The video also shows that the temple was locked by police, and some devotes were beaten up by them.

After the incidents, a large number of people involved with organising the Pujas have been arrested by West Bengal police for violating the one-day lockdown order.

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