KOLKATA: Delegations of the Left, Congress and BJP were on Friday stopped by police from going to the communal violence-hit Baduria in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district as the situation in the region was still volatile.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party delegation comprising state party President Dilip Ghosh, party leaders Jay Prakash Majumdar and Locket Chatterjee were stopped near Michel Nagar in North 24 Parganas, the team of Left Front leaders were halted at district's Ashoknagar first and at Deganga later by police saying prohibitory orders were in force in the violence-hit areas.
"We were stopped near the Kolkata airport on our way to Baduria by the officers of Bidhannagar Commissionerate. When we protested, they announced prohibitory orders have been imposed in the area right from that moment. How can this happen in a democracy?" said actor turned politician Locket Chatterjee.
Taking a swipe at the state government for detaining their party leaders for "trespassing in the violence-stricken area", she said the government should arrest the people responsible for spreading communal hatred.
"The government here is detaining our leaders for trying to stand up by the people who got affected in the communal violence. However, they are not doing anything to the communal leaders who are spreading violence. This is only possible in West Bengal," she alleged.
The Left delegation engaged in a verbal spat with the police officers near Deganga after their cars were stopped and demanded a copy of the District Magistrate's order imposing prohibitory orders be shown to them.
"They are not letting us go but they cannot produce any legal documents as well. Police haven't even formally detained us but said that senior officers will talk to us," said Left Front legislator party leader Sujan Chakraborty.
"Police should not be giving out legal advice when they are doing something illegal themselves," said Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Mohammed Salim.
The Congress delegation led by state party president Adhir Chowdhury also accused police of forcefully stopping them near North 24 Parganas' Barasat and held the administration responsible for the lapse in law and order situation in the state.
"We wanted to get to the violence-hit areas of Basirhat, Baduria and Swarupnagar to lend a helping hand to the administration. The law and order situation is terrible. If the administration does not get tough on these issues, the situation would worsen," said Chowdhury.
He also urged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to call an all-party meeting on the issue.
The ruling Trinamool Congress, however, criticised the opposition parties for trying to go to sensitive areas and appealed to them to instead help maintain peace.
"There is no point going there now as the situation is not peaceful. I think they should come back and reconsider their move. It is not that they won't be able to get there later," said state Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick.
"I appeal to all the opposition parties to help the administration in restoring peace and maintaining law and order," he added.