BJP workers, police clash in Kolkata

Updated: Jun 15, 2019, 10:30 IST | mid-day online desk

Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy and state BJP general secretary Raju Banerjee were injured during the clashes, the state leadership said

BJP workers, police clash in Kolkata
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists clash with police during the rally in Kolkata. Pic/AFP

Kolkata: Clashes broke out on Wednesday between BJP workers and the police in Kolkata during a rally to protest against post-poll violence in West Bengal with the saffron party claiming several of its members were injured. Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy and state BJP general secretary Raju Banerjee were injured during the clashes, state leaders said.

Raju Banerjee was admitted to a nearby hospital while Roy was taken to the party office and his condition is stated to be stable. The 18 newly-elected MPs of the BJP in the state participated in the protest rally. As the BJP activists jostled to reach the Bowbazar crossing in the city, police resorted to firing tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse them, the party claimed. In retaliation, the saffron party workers raised slogans and hurled stones and bottles at the officers, police said. The BJP leadership, however, claimed none of the party workers were involved in stone hurling and it was police which threw stones and bottles at protestors. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya along with party president Dilip Ghosh and other senior leaders held a sit-in demonstration at the Bowbazar-Central Avenue crossing in protest against the violence. Later on BJP leaders ended the sit-in demonstration.

The BJP's protest march was conducted from the Wellington area of the city towards the Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar, covering a distance of about three KM in the heart of the metropolis. "West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has lost her mental balance due to the unprecedented growth of the BJP. She has resorted to politics of violence in order to save her chair. If such a situation continues then the central government should take a call on what should be done or not," Vijayvargiya said. Ghosh criticised police administration alleging unprovoked water cannon and tear gas shell firing. "We were conducting a peaceful protest march, then why did the police get into unprovoked water cannon and tear gas shell firing? The TMC government is determined to create an atmosphere of violence and intimidation," he said. The police said hundreds of BJP supporters were detained and later released. The Trinamool Congress leadership while reacting to the incident said the BJP is trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state.

"The BJP is trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state. Just because they have won few seats doesn't mean they can do what ever they want to. The people of Bengal will oppose any attempt to vitiate the atmosphere of the state," TMC secretary general and senior minister Partha Chaterjee said. Following the escalation of violence in the state, Governor Kesri Nath Tripathi Wednesday called all four key political parties--TMC, BJP, Congress and CPI-M-- of the state for a meeting Thursday in an attempt to calm down the situation. Post-poll violence has been reported from various places of West Bengal after the BJP secured 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, just four less than that of the TMC. Buoyed by this performance, the saffron party leaders have been claiming that they would end Mamata Banerjee's rule in the next assembly election in 2021. Roy on Tuesday blamed Banerjee for the clashes in North 24 Parganas' Sandeshkhali on Saturday that claimed three lives, and demanded an investigation into the violence by anti-terror probe agency NIA. Banerjee had earlier accused the BJP of "spreading false information as part of a game plan to topple her government".

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