At least 36 people have been arrested in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal after violent clashes disrupted a religious procession, a senior state police official said on Friday.

A few vehicles were set ablaze and some shops were ransacked on Thursday as warring groups threw stones at each other in a neighbourhood of the industrial city of Howrah before police and security forces secured the area, the official said.

Skirmishes continued on Friday in Howrah’s Shibpur district, where Hindus and Muslims have lived together for generations, said the official, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal’s chief minister, said the clashes began after a procession celebrating the Hindu festival of Ram Navami on Thursday diverted from its route to an unauthorised area.

The senior police official said stones were hurled at the procession as it passed through Shibpur.

Banerjee said there were lapses on the part of the police and strong action would be taken in the matter.

State police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Suvendu Adhikari, a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in the state, said at least 10 party workers had been injured in the clashes and that police had stood by as “spectators” during the violence.

Meanwhile, in Vadodara city, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, police arrested 22 people on Friday for rioting and stone pelting during a Ram Navami procession on Thursday. Six police personnel and five other people were injured in the violence, police said.

“A large mob resorted to stone pelting and damaged public property, including some vehicles in the Fatehpura area of the city,” M.L. Ninama, joint commissioner of Vadodara police, told Reuters.

Opinion

Editorial

More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...
IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...