KOLKATA: The BJP’s protest march to Lalbazar on Wednesday turned violent after the party’s supporters toppled barricades put up on an arterial thoroughfare and police lobbed teargas shells and used water cannons. The law enforcers also resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the supporters after they allegedly pelted stones. Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy and state BJP general secretary Raju Banerjee were injured during the clashes. Banerjee was admitted to a hospital while Roy was taken to the party office and is stable.
Police arrested 52 BJP supporters. The BJP leadership, however, claimed none of the party workers was involved in stone pelting.
The first snap demonstration by three women BJP supporters surprised policemen when they arrived in front of the main gate of Kolkata police headquarters and started chanting ‘‘Jai Shri Ram’’. The three women dodged the police before the protest march pretending to be office goers. ‘‘We were allowing office-bound pedestrians along the BB Ganguly Street that connects Lalbazar with CR Avenue. Suddenly, the women took out BJP’s flags from their handbags, started chanting the slogan. They were picked up and arrested,’’ said a senior police officer.
Hitting out at Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged police showed high handedness on a peaceful procession. ‘‘A section of Trinamool activists pelted stones and police targeted our supporters,’’ he said. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya along with Ghosh and other senior leaders held a sit-in demonstration at the Bowbazar-Central Avenue crossing to protest against the violence.
Earlier in the day, BJP supporters started marching towards Lalbazar police headquarters from two places— Raja Subodh Mullick Square and Brabourne Road — to protest the killing of two party workers at Sandeshkhali in North 24-Parganas.
The situation took a violent turn when BJP supporters reached BB Ganguly Street and faced the first barricade. 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.
wb Guv calls meeting
West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi has convened a meeting of major political parties on Thursday in view of the ongoing post-poll violence in the state, sources in the Raj Bhavan said. Tripathi has sent a letter to all four prominent parties in Bengal —Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), BJP and Congress— urging them to attend the meet at 4 pm, they said. The BJP and the TMC have confirmed that they would attend the meeting. The Congress and the CPI-M confirmed receiving the letter, but are yet to confirm their participation. The state BJP has welcomed the move
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes will Friday meet the family of those killed in post-poll violence in Sandeshkhali in West Bengal, the panel said