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Bombs, arson and stone pelting during BJP's protest in Kolkata

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 25 May 2017, 15:04 IST
(Swapan Mahapatra/PTI)

Chaos took over during BJP's "march to Lalbazar" on 25 May after the protest turned ugly, forcing Kolkata Police to take action against the rowdy protestors.

The police attempted to use water cannons and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd after BJP workers reportedly started throwing small bombs and pelting them with stones, reports ABP. Several reports claim that many police vehicles have been torched and that one policeman's head has also been split open in the ongoing violence.

BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state president Dilip Ghosh were arrested by the police from Phears Lane and taken to nearby Burrabazar police station, reports ABP.

In all, 15 BJP workers and 21 policemen have been injured. BJP leader Roopa Ganguly, who was injured after the police threw a tear gas shell, says, "It is our democratic right to be allowed to protest but the police unnecessarilyy set up barricades and did not allow us to enter the area." 

BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, "We demand a judicial enquiry on the matter and want the police to give us the details of the video footage they have received. We are not frightened and they cannot stop our voice. We have decided to organise street corner meetings on 26 May in protest against the police atrocities.""

The irony of the situation is that the BJP's intention was to protest against the "deteriorating law and order" situation in the state, the blame for which they laid at the feet of the Mamata Banerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress government. The march was also taken out for the party to protest against the lodging of “false cases” against BJP workers, as well as to demand the arrest of Tipu Sultan Mosque Shahi Imam Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati.

The turmoil forced several BJP members participating in the protest to reach the party's state office well before the scheduled time. On social media, claims are being made that the police continued to hit at them with lathis. A team from the BJP will meet with the Governor of the state in the evening to protest the violence perpetrated by the police on them.

Later, reports that Ganguly and Sinha were also arrested by the police. Overall, Kolkata Police has arrested 141 BJP workers. 

"A police van was torched by the BJP supporters when the police burst tear gas at Phears Lane. The area was immediately vacated by Kolkata Police," an eyewitness says.

After her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, Banerjee said, "There is no reason for organising such an abhiyan in the state as the Opposition does not have any concrete issue. Does Bengal have issues like Saharanpur? I do not think so. Our police van has been torched by BJP supporters and women police officers were beaten up by them. Government property has been vandalised, it is all on video."

Calling it a "political fight", the CM said Opposition parties like the BJP and CPI(M) are hand in hand with each other and are not following democratic norms to organise their rallies. "CPI(M) resorted to goondaism, and BJP is following the same path," she said. "Democratic agitation does not mean madness or hooliganism."

This violence comes at the heels of a clash between Left Front workers and the police during their 'March to Nabanna'. In all, over 150 people, including media persons, policemen and Left workers, were injured in the clashes.

Sujan Chakraborty CPI(M) leader said, "She [Mamata] always tells lies. She should have stayed in West Bengal today, but instead went to Delhi to see the Prime Minister. The secret understanding between Didi-Modi has once again come to light."

First published: 25 May 2017, 15:04 IST