By Shuriah Niazi
NEW DELHI (AA) – Tense calm prevailed on Saturday after two days of communal violence in four Indian states that began during Hindu religious festivities, in which at least two people were killed, according to local media reports
Several dozens of people were arrested after communal clashes erupted in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Gujarat on Thursday and Friday during the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi which commemorates the birth of the Hindu deity Rama.
Deaths were reported in West Bengal and Maharashtra, as several injuries were reported in other states.
The majority of these incidents occurred while Hindu groups were marching through Muslim-majority areas shouting slogans.
In Howrah city in the eastern state of West Bengal, violence broke out between two groups on Thursday night, as the Ram Navami procession passed through minority community areas. Several vehicles were set on fire and shops were attacked, resulting in numerous injuries during the sporadic clashes between the two groups that lasted until Friday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee blamed the right-wing Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for orchestrating the communal agitation and targeting one “minority community” with the support of "goons," a local India Today daily reported.
“They are the enemies of the people of the country,” she was quoted as saying by the daily.
She claimed that “they (the attackers) were hired by the BJP and were carrying guns and petrol bombs. They first attacked people from the minority communities.”
However, Suvendu Adhikari, a senior BJP leader, accused the police of being a "silent spectator."
According to the media outlet, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar claimed that the violence was "orchestrated" by Mamata Banerjee in order to "retain her Muslim votes."
On Saturday, Howrah Commissioner of Police Praveen Tripathi told a news conference that 38 people have been arrested for violent clashes in the city.
In another eastern state, Bihar, police arrested 45 people for arson and violence.
Over 100 more were also arrested in different states for their alleged links with the violent incidents.
India also witnessed widespread communal clashes during last year's Ram Navami celebrations.