Clashes broke out between BJP workers and the West Bengal Police in Kolkata on Thursday as BJP workers tried to break through police barricades during their march towards Bengal secretariat ‘Nabanna’.
Thousands of BJP workers from Kolkata and Howrah began marching towards Nabanna to protest the “worsening” law and order in the state, on Thursday afternoon. The West Bengal Police, however, blocked the march and police personnel resorted to lathi-charge, used tear gas and water cannons on BJP workers at Santragachi in Howrah district.
“The police is lathi charging our people…stone-pelting being done from Khidirpur side. Can’t the police see that?” BJP leader Locket Chatterjee was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
#WATCH Howrah: BJP workers try to break police barricade put in place to stop the Party’s ‘Nabanna Chalo’ agitation against the alleged killing of party workers in the state; police use tear gas to bring the situation under control.#WestBengal pic.twitter.com/ChQdi0NYXj— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2020
West Bengal: Police use water cannon & lathi-charge to disperse BJP workers during a protest at Hastings in Kolkata.
BJP has launched a state-wide ‘Nabanna Chalo’ agitation march today to protest against the alleged killing of its party workers. pic.twitter.com/T2om4xUxlq— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2020
#WATCH West Bengal: Police use water cannon & lathi-charge to disperse Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers who are protesting at Howrah Bridge.
BJP has launched a state-wide ‘Nabanna Chalo’ agitation march today to protest against the alleged killing of its party workers. pic.twitter.com/dpPoqT8DlG— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2020
Several BJP leaders, including BJP state vice-president Raju Banerjee and MP Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato, have reportedly been injured.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed as BJP workers retaliated by hurling stones at cops. Following West Bengal Police’s crackdown, BJP workers also set ablaze tires in Howrah during the party’s state-wide agitation.
West Bengal: BJP workers set ablaze tires in Howrah during party’s state-wide ‘Nabanna Chalo’ agitation against the alleged killings of its workers. pic.twitter.com/CxWNZ7NayL— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2020
On BJP’s holding a big march even as the state is battling coronavirus pandemic, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “All workers are wearing masks. Are rules only for us? Mamata ji holds demonstrations with thousands and we’re being taught lessons of social distancing.”
“Do the same rules not apply to her?” Kailash Vijayvargiya asked.
We are protesting democratically, but Mamata Ji has tried to turn our peaceful demonstration into a violent protest. Goons along with police pelted stones at us: BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya in Kolkata https://t.co/MulZaJB486 pic.twitter.com/Cc3uPhblwr— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2020
BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya claimed, “We are protesting democratically, but Mamata ji has tried to turn our peaceful demonstration into a violent protest. Goons along with police hurled stones at us.”
The BJP, however, later called of their protest after two hours. A BJP leader told India Today that the party decided to suspend the march for the day, while adding that the massive protests will be seen in days to come.
The West Bengal government had earlier cited the Covid-19 pandemic to deny permission for the BJP youth wing’s ‘March to Nabanna’. The Mamata Banerjee-led government said peaceful and democratic rallies within “permissible parameters” of only 100 people would be allowed.
The government also announced that Nabanna, the state secretariat building in Howrah, will be closed for a two-day sanitisation exercise.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli G Dastidar hit out at the BJP saying, “So much for BJP’s ‘peaceful rally’ which was led by a BJP worker carrying a firearm and sharp weapons. People will not accept BJP’s politics of hate and violence in Bengal. Absolutely disgusting.”
So much for BJP’s ‘peaceful rally’ which was led by a BJP worker carrying a firearm & sharp weapons. People will not accept @BJP4India’s politics of hate & violence in Bengal! Absolutely disgusting!#BJPSeDeshBachao https://t.co/HjwDz4UEIY— Dr. KakoliGDastidar (@kakoligdastidar) October 8, 2020
Mamata-led govt shut Nabanna out of fear: Tejasvi Surya
The decision to shut down Nabanna on working days had drawn condemnation from the BJP leadership, which termed the decision as a “reflection of TMC’s fear.
BJP Yuva Morcha’s president Tejasvi Surya alleged that the Mamata Banerjee government shut Nabanna out of fear.
Addressing a press conference, Tejasvi Surya said on Wednesday, “Mamata didi is afraid. I have learnt that she has closed the CMO. This is the sign of a real ‘paribartan’ (change) in Bengal and this is being led by the patriotic youth of the state and the rest of the country is with them.”
Tejasvi Surya said the Bengal government was citing the Covid-19 situation to deny permission for the BJYM march, but the Trinamool Congress supremo had herself led a rally against the farm bills a couple of days ago.
“Are there one set of rules for the TMC and another for other parties?” Tejasvi Surya had asked.
“Mamata ji is a living example of what a Fascist government looks like,” Surya had said.
On the closure of Nabanna for two days, Tejasvi Surya had claimed that the state secretariat has been closed in all practical terms since Mamata Banerjee took over as chief minister.
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