BJP leaders get bail, seven workers in police custody a day after protest in Kolkata turned violent

Kolkata: A court on Friday granted bail to all senior BJP leaders including its national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh, and Rajya Sabha MP Rupa Ganguly, but remanded seven party workers to police custody till Monday in connection with disturbances during its protest here a day back.

A total of 135 BJP leaders and workers were presented before the Bankshall Court, a day after the party's activists clashed with security personnel here during a protest march to the city police headquarters Lalbazar.

All the BJP leaders and workers were arrested on Thursday and spent the night in the Lalbazar police lock up.

 BJP leaders get bail, seven workers in police custody a day after protest in Kolkata turned violent

File image of protests in Kolkata. PTI

State BJP secretary Locket Chatterjee, a former actress, also secured bail.

Altogether 128 BJP leaders and workers were bailed out on Friday, but seven others were remanded to police custody till May 29 for their alleged involvement in specific cases including rioting, bombing and assault.

Charges were were slapped for unlawful gathering, provocation, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty under the Indian Penal Code as well as under the Explosives Act.

Moving the bail plea, the defence counsel said no bombs were seized from the arrested workers. They were arrested first, and the bombs seized only later.

Wondering why the workers - if they at all wanted to create lawlessness - would burst only one bomb, counsel said it was a political agitation, but police carried out a "ruthless" baton charge.

"Police claim bricks were thrown at them, but they have made no such seizure. There is no evidence that those seven protesters were throwing bombs," counsel said.

Opposing the bail prayer, the public prosecutor said for maintenance of law and order, the protestors were arrested first, as the topmost priority of police is to save people's lives.

The prosecutor said the accused were detained after the incident, but the case was started only after a specific enquiry.

"There are several non-bailable sections. So those under such sections need to be interrogated to go into the depth of the case," he added.

After listening to both sides, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satya Arnab Ghosal sent the seven workers to police remand and gave bail to 128 others including the top leaders.

After coming out of the lock up, Ghosh told media persons that allegations that the BJP workers destroyed public property and hurled bombs were untrue.

"No one can show any photo or video that our party workers have thrown stones at anyone, attacked or tortured police. These are all false cases. In fact, our procession was bombed. It is a conspiracy to malign the BJP," he said.

Claiming that the party workers had behaved in a very restrained manner during the protest march, Ghosh called the programme "successful".

He accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of using miscreants to throw bombs and set afire a police vehicle.

"The vehicle can be seen aflame, but there is no proof, who set it afire. Police had videographed our programme. There is close-circuit tv on the roads. Why are police not apprehending the guilty? If any of our people are guilty, we will hand him over to the lawkeepers," he said.

BJP workers protested outside police stations across the state against the police "excesses" and demanding release of their leaders.

The Trinamool, however, ridiculed the BJP's movement.

"All movements by the BJP are targeted at the Trinamool. The don't bring out rallies for Bengal's daily wagers or for the state's development. They rally only for the sake of their party and power," said party Secretary General Partha Chatterjee.

The BJP's protest march on Thursday had turned parts of the city hub into war zones, and left over 50 of their workers and 21 police personnel injured.

A police vehicle was torched, and a number of government and private cars damaged in the violence.

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Updated Date: May 26, 2017 22:25:27 IST