Cops use teargas, car set on fire: How BJP protest in Kolkata escalated
A war of words has also broken out with BJP’s Amit Malviya claiming that Mamata Banerjee sent TMC cadre to pelt stones at police so that ‘BJP could be blamed’ for it later. Meanwhile, the chief minister has told her followers ‘not to bother’ about the saffron party’s protest
The BJP’s ‘Nabanna Abhijan’ in West Bengal to protest alleged corrupt practices of the TMC government has turned into a free-for-all.
The BJP’s leaders have been arrested and detained, its cadre has clashed with the state police who resorted to teargas and lathicharge and at least four party workers have been taken into custody.
A war of words has also broken out with BJP’s Amit Malviya claiming that Mamata Banerjee sent TMC cadre to pelt stones at police so that ‘BJP could be blamed’ for it later.
Meanwhile, the chief minister has told her followers ‘not to bother’ about the saffron party’s protest.
Let’s take a look at the latest developments in West Bengal:
Bengal turns battlefield
Parts of Bengal resembled a battlefield on Tuesday as BJP activists clashed with the police during a protest march to the state secretariat.
This came after the West Bengal police had earlier today denied permission for the party’s ‘Nabanna Abhijan’ march to the state secretariat.
As per FPJ, The West Bengal police resorted to teargas and water cannons.
Several videos online showed protesters vandalising a police vehicle in Howrah. They also showed a vehicle set ablaze and the fire department putting out the flames.
As per FPJ, police halted traffic movement on Howrah Bridge.
A video shared by ANI also showed police thrashing a BJP worker.
Several police officers and saffron camp members, including leaders Mina Devi Purohit and Swapan Dasgupta, were reportedly injured in the melee.
According to IE Bangla, the BJP workers vandalised the police kiosks and threw stones and pebbles from the railway track at the police.
Leader of Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, the party’s Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee and senior leader Rahul Sinha were among those detained during the march.
#WATCH | West Bengal: Police detain BJP leaders including Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, Rahul Sinha and MP Locket Chatterjee from Hastings in Kolkata ahead of BJP’s Nabanna Chalo march
Leaders taken to Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar pic.twitter.com/aPgJm7q6Dn
— ANI (@ANI) September 13, 2022
Adhikari earlier tweeted a video of a peaceful protest with the caption: “Glimpses of @WBPolice atrocities. They are trampling upon the fundamental rights of citizens ensured by Article 19 of The Constitution Of India: # to assemble peaceably # to move freely throughout the territory of India. People are resisting spontaneously.”
The police used teargas and water cannons to disperse the agitators, who tried to go past the barricades that were put in place at several points in the city and its adjoining areas.
In Santragachhi, the police were pelted with stones as they chased away the protesters. A police kiosk was damaged as the demonstrators were stopped from moving forward.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Howrah, Kolkata’s Lalbazar and MG Road areas where violent protesters engaged in a scuffle with the police. In Lalbazar, a police vehicle was set on fire.
A Kolkata Police officer said “there was no report of any serious injury to any protestors though several police personnel have suffered injuries”.
Normal life was disrupted in the city amid the protests, with common people facing huge inconvenience on the thoroughfares, many of which had plunged into chaos.
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar staged a sit-in in Howrah after being stopped from carrying forward the rally.
As per ANI, Majumdar was then arrested.
Speaking to the media, Majumdar said, “CM is scared, ran away after seeing the strength of the people gathered here; only 30 per cent are here today, some of the rest were detained yesterday.”
The BJP state chief and senior leader Agnimitra Paul were later detained from a protest site at Howrah Maidan.
BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, who led the protesters near Howrah bridge, left the site in the midst of a lathicharge on his party’s supporters. “Our fight against this jungle raj will continue,” Ghosh said.
BJP state youth wing president Saumitra Khan said “days of the TMC is numbered” and BJP will surely give a reply to all the atrocities committed on party men.
“Everyone got to see how the partisan police tried scuttling a leader of opposition’s democratic right to protest outside Nabanna. I was manhandled by a woman constable, people saw that too,” Adhikari told reporters before being whisked away in a prison van.
“This autocratic Mamata Banerjee government does not believe in giving space to Opposition parties,” Majumdar said.
Majumdar also claimed that it was a shame that the police were acting in a partisan manner, further claiming that “some of them have turned into puppets of ruling TMC”.
BJP slams TMC
The BJP’s Amit Malviya took aim at the Mamata dispensation on Twitter.
Mamata Banerjee sent TMC cadres to pelt stones at the police so that later BJP could be blamed for it… pic.twitter.com/SkUBecr042
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 13, 2022
Malviya further said that National Commission for Women (NCW) should take note of how male police constables of Kolkata Police “brutally assaulted” women protesters.
The BJP has moved the Calcutta High Court against senior state government officials for proactive police action against party worker.
The party prayed for urgent hearing before Chief Justice’s Division Bench.
The permission has been granted and the hearing has begun.
The BJP had hired several trains – three from north Bengal and four from south Bengal – to bring its party members and supporters from different parts of the state to the metropolis and Howrah for the march.
The saffron camp has been taking out rallies across the state for the past couple of days, asking party workers to make the ‘Nabanna Abhijan’ a grand success.
The TMC government is scared of public uprising. Even if they try stop our protest march, we will resist peacefully. The state administration will be responsible for any untoward development,” Ghosh said on Friday.
BJP leader Rahul Sinha had accused the Mamata Banerjee government of trying to forcibly stop the “democratic protest”.
“Our supporters were prevented from boarding a special train from Alipurduar to Sealdah on Monday evening and even lathicharged by the state police. The train left later with our activists and supporters,” Sinha said.
TMC hits back
Meanwhile, TMC has claimed that eye-witnesses saw people carrying lathis and BJP flags pelting stones and setting fire to police cars during the protest.
Eye-witnesses say people carrying lathis and @BJP4India flags were pelting stones, setting fire to police cars.
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) September 13, 2022
As per ANI, TMC accused the BJP of setting ablaze a police van near a police station in central Kolkata’s Burrabazar.
Mamata, meanwhile, hit back during a party meet in Midnapore, as per News18.
“Don’t bother much about BJP’s Nabanna Abhijaan… They did not have too many people with them… Concentrate on your work… We are focussed on giving people jobs and the BJP is trying to shift attention away by such programmes… We should remain focussed on our work,” she said at party meeting in Midnapore.
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Joy Prakash Majumdar had earlier said the BJP is attempting to create disturbance in the city for its “narrow, partisan politics”.
“We urge everyone not to fall in their trap,” he said.
With inputs from agencies
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