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Asansol on edge, police deployed ahead of Hanuman Jayanti

An uneasy calm descended upon West Burdwan on Friday when, for the first time since last Sunday's Ram Navami processions, there was no violence. One more body was recovered from the riot-torn areas of Asansol but cops said this death had no connection with the post-Ram Navami violence that claimed three lives in West Burdwan and five across Bengal between Sunday and Thursday.

BJP mounted pressure on the Trinamool Congress government, with party president Amit Shah calling the violence "sad and unfortunate". The decision came a day after police stopped Union junior minister and Asansol North MP Babul Supriyo from visiting trouble-torn areas on the pretext that Section 144 CrPC had been clamped.

The administration is likely to stick to this stand if the BJP delegation visits Asansol before the restrictions are relaxed.

Cops, meanwhile, drew up deployment plans for Saturday's Hanuman Jayanti celebrations, which would be coming six days after similar "celebrations" for Ram Navami sparked off the clashes. Most residents locked themselves inside their home on Friday as police patrolled the desolate market area, 3km off National Highway 2.

Some traders opened shops in the vegetable market briefly on Friday but few people ventured into neighbourhoods populated by the other community.

"Barbers, mostly Hindus, are scared to go to Muslim localities, while Muslims are afraid of going to the market, where traders are mainly Hindus," Sitaldanga Noorani Masjid imam Md Indadullah Rashidi, who lost his 17-year-old son in the violence, said.

About 100 higher secondary examinees could not reach their exam centres on Thursday.