We hope the West Bengal governor’s tour of the riot-hit areas is not a prelude to the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, a former senior BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh, visited Asansol and Raniganj on Saturday. These coal belt areas were recently singed by communal rioting after the BJP took out armed procession on the Ram Navami recently, in violation of the state government’s directive. But the governor learnt nothing from the example of the imam of Asansol, who lost his 16-year old son in the riot. When a restive mob rallied around the imam as the situation grew tense, the Muslim prayer leader said he had lost his son who was innocent, and didn’t want another family to lose their son. This immediately doused the mass anger.
The imam’s Gandhian thinking saved the situation and he became an instant hero. Mr Tripathi, in contrast, avoided visiting the riot-affected Muslim localities. Many had hoped that, being the state’s constitutional head, he might at least visit the imam’s family to condole with them.
The Union home ministry asked the Mamata Banerjee government for a report on the communal flareup (though it hasn’t done so for Bihar, where district after district is being engulfed by communal disturbances after Ram Navami). We hope the West Bengal governor’s tour of the riot-hit areas is not a prelude to the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. The Centre should resist any such move, no matter how great the temptation — due to partisan considerations — to impose Central rule as the state politically prepares itself for the next Lok Sabha election, which could even be held before it is due.