In a huge armed rally in Chandannagar, a former French colony on the west bank of Hooghly river, many were seen brandishing swords, falchions and a plethora of weapons on Sunday evening. The rally, organised by a Vishwa Hindu Parishad affiliate, Hindu Jagran Manch, was a follow-up of last week’s Ram Navami. The organisers told the participants to carry a weapon each and thus the local blacksmiths did brisk business.“I got this made last year, but more among us made their weapons this year,” said a local businessman, Niraj Prajapati, showing his sword.The swords about four to five kg heavy with irregular edges injured half a dozen men as they were engaged in mock-fights. Teenagers were seen swirling the weapons above their heads and slicing the air at knee-height, while many women danced their way to the river Hooghly. Foreigners, predominantly followers of Lord Krishna, could also be seen rendering kirtan, devotional songs, in the rally. Organisers said they had assembled men from various parts of the districts for Sunday’s programme.Realising that the post-Ram Navami march, even if it was organised by their rivals, was a public relations opportunity as thousands took part, Trinamool Congress made its presence felt. TMC’s Hooghly MP Ratna De Nag and Mayor of the city corporation, Ram Chakravarty were seen greeting the participants, many of whom were carrying swords and saffron flags. A local leader said that the MP and the Mayor were “monitoring the situation as it was volatile.”Pat for policeThe day, however, passed off peacefully. From last Wednesday, when the rallies took off, there have been reports of incidents of communal tension in some urban pockets. But in none of the incidents, the situation spiralled out of control. A former Chief Secretary told The Hindu that the police did “a commendable job” in defusing tension. “I’m aware how explosive the situation was two days back. Many rumours were spreading but the police worked silently and skilfullyto defuse tension across the State,” the senior bureaucrat said.Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma told The Hindu that the situation remained largely peaceful. “ Action has been taken against trouble-makers. Some people have been arrested. The situation is peaceful,” Mr. Sharma said.