Kolkata: At a time when there is rage against Bharatiya Janata Party led government in Uttar Pradesh for large number of rape cases especially against Dalit community across the country, BJP led a protest march in West Bengal highlighting worsening law and order situation in Trinamool ruled state.
But clashes broke out between the BJP workers and the West Bengal Police on Thursday during the saffron party’s ‘Nabanna Chalo’ protest march.
The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)’s 2019 figures also show that UP tops in India in violence against women and girl children. The home ministry claimed that West Bengal did not share its latest data and its 2018 data has been used to arrive at national and city-wise figures.
On October 3, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a rally in Kolkata against the Hathras gangrape case and UP police not allowing opposition leaders to meet victim family.
Violence erupted near Howrah Bridge as the BJP activists led by BJP state president and Midnapore MP Dilip Ghosh tried to break the barricade near the bridge.
“The police are just the puppet of the chief minister. We have organised a democratic and peaceful rally. The TMC government, along with police, is purposely trying to disrupt the social fabric of the state by unnecessary violence,” said Ghosh.
Countering Ghosh, the mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation Firhad Hakim alleged that BJP is not a political party but a group of lumpens.
“BJP had hit the streets purposely to unleash tension and terror. They are not a political party but a group of lumpens trying to break the democracy of the state,” claimed Hakim.
The police resorted to water cannons, tear gas and lathi-charge on the BJP cadres leaving more than 1,000 workers severely injured.
The youth wing of state BJP had taken out a protest march to the state secretariat Nabanna. The protest march started from four different points state BJP`s headquarters on Central Avenue, Hastings, Howrah Maidan and Santragachi.
The BJP worker arrived from the districts for the mega rally. BJP central leader and Bengal observer Arvind Menon had to be hospitalized after being injured in a lathi-charge near Hastings More.
State vice-president Raju Banerjee, who led the rally from Satragachi along with party’s general secretary Sayantan Basu, was rushed to Apollo Hospitals for treatment as he was gasping for breath after being hit by a chemical-laced water cannon at Satragachi bus stand.
The state government used heavy police force to stop the march and disperse the party workers. The arterial Howrah Bridge, connecting the city to Howrah town and the station, was turned into a fortress by the heavy deployment of cops. RAF, city and state police and Robocop personnel were also seen guarding the streets in large numbers. The BJP leaders alleged that the administration had stopped plying buses, ferry services and other modes of transport, since Wednesday evening to prevent the workers reach the city.
Union minister and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo was stopped at Kona Expressway and was denied permission to enter Kolkata.
“I was supposed to join the rally from Satragachi but police is denying permission to even go to Kolkata. Mamata Banerjee vacated the state secretariat fearing of BJP wrath. We exactly want this to happen and want to uproot her and her tyrant party from Bengal,” claimed Supriyo.
Earlier in the day, around noon, when the BJP workers were still converging at the various venues, the cops used lathi-charge at Kona Expressway around Satragachi. At Dhulagarh too, the marching rallists were stopped. At Satragachi More, a large number of bike-borne workers joined the rally. The crowd later broke open the bamboo barricades put up by the cops.
At Howrah Maidan too barricades were upturned by the marching workers.
Later, at a press meet BJYM all-India president and MP, Tejasvi Surya said that the state has the most corrupt government in India and that 120 party workers were killed in the state in the last 2 years. He said he will ask the centre for gross violation of human rights by the use of chemical-laced water jets, which is the first of its kind in the world. He quoted former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when he said, “Andhera chatega, suraj niklega aur kamal khilega (state will see the lotus blooming after the darkness is removed and the sun shines)”.
The state BJP youth wing activists staged a protest programme near Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s residence at Kalighat earlier in the day chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans.
Significantly, in an anti-NRC rally in December last year, CM Mamata had said that BJP didn’t allow the delegates we sent to enter UP but their leaders come and do rallies in Bengal. Last week, when TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien gone to Hathras to meet Manisha’s family, who has been gangraped, did not let meet the family and police stopped him by pushing him to ground.