SILIGURI: A few days after foiling the entry of Left Front cadre to State secretariat Nabanna, Kolkata Police on Thurday violently clashed with BJP workers during their march to the police headquarters Lalbazar in Kolkata.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP State president Dilip Ghosh and former party State president Rahul Sinha were arrested during the protest march. The BJP has claimed that more than 200 of its supporters were injured in the clashes.
Of these, two were critical. On the other hand, more than 15 police officers were injured and a vehicle was set on fire during the protest march. Speaking at a press conference after the melee in Kolkata, former Basirhat Dakshin MLA Shamik Bhattacharya said the BJP workers were attacked even from rooftops. “Trinamool Congress (TMC) goons led the police during the procession.
Besides injuring more than 200 of our workers, police also unleashed lathi-charge on commuters at Central metro station,” Bhattacharya alleged. “Hegemony of the Left was replaced by that of TMC in 2011.
The Mamata Banerjee government does not accept right of the opposition to protest, to dissent or raise voices. A party that had received a massive mandate from the people does not require the consent of Mamata Banerjee,” he added.
Responding to allegations of vandalism during the rally, Bhattacharya said BJP workers could not keep quiet when their comrades were severely injured during the rally. However, he refuted charges of BJP workers lobbing bombs and setting a vehicle on fire saying: “We faced bomb attacks at Brabourne Road in central Kolkata.
A vehicle was set on fire by TMC workers though we were blamed for it,” he claimed. In response to comparison with the Left’s ‘Nabanna Avijaan’, the BJP leader said the Left has been rendered politically irrelevant in West Bengal and a rising BJP could not be compared with the waning Left.
He announced that the BJP would block major roads in West Bengal on Friday in protest against the police action they faced. Meanwhile, journalists covering the event were provided with special fluorescent coloured ‘PRESS’ jackets by the Kolkata Police to distinguish the scribes from the protestors. More than 50 journalists were severely beaten up during the Left’s ‘Nabanna Avijaan’ three days ago.