Communal clashes broke out in the North 24 Parganas district of the Indian state of West Bengal after a Hindu teenager posted anti-Islamic content on his Facebook timeline on Monday, 3 July. The teenager, who name is not revealed, was arrested after he allegedly wrote a blasphemous post against Prophet Muhammad.
The Indian central government has sent 400 paramilitary personnel to bring the situation under control after the state government, led by female politician Mamata Banerjee, sought the deployment of armed forces to handle the matter.
"The situation is very tense. There is heavy deployment of policemen," said Bhaskar Bhattacharya, Police Superintendent of North 24 Parganas.
As many as 2,000 Muslims are thought to have gone on a rampage damaging houses, businesses and vehicles. Many police vans were also set on fire by angry mobs. However, no casualty has been reported as yet.
Transportation and trade have also been affected in many areas due to the violence with more protesters pouring in. Internet services have been disrupted while schools and shops have been asked to remain closed until the situation improves in the affected areas.
Residents of the North 24 Parganas district, which has a 26% Muslim population, have been asked to stay indoors.
Paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Bashirhat, Swarupnagar, Baduria and Devganga areas of the district to prevent any untoward incident. The belt is located less than 20kms from the Bangladesh border.
"More than 2,000 Muslims attacked Hindu families. Bombs went off at many places and information of Hindu sisters and daughters being raped have also been received. Local workers (of BJP) have said many facilities including five BJP offices were set on fire," Kailash Vijayvargiya, general secretary of the BJP, said. The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the current ruling party at the centre in India.
The flare-up has also snowballed into a political crisis after the Banerjee administration accused Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi of overstepping his constitutional limits.