BJP’s march to West Bengal secretariat turns violent

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Tribune News Service

Kolkata, October 8

The BJP’s ‘Nabanna Chalo Abhiyan’ (let’s march to state secretariat) on Thursday threw life out of gear in central Kolkata besides triggering off fear about giving a fresh spurt to coronavirus outbreak in the city.

The BJP march, which took place a day after the state recorded 3,455 fresh cases of Covid – highest till date, saw the participants throwing caution to the wind as hundreds of them took to the street to press for various demands, including jobs and transparency in the recruitment process.

The National Disaster Management Act promulgated by the Centre in the country to arrest the spread of Covid prohibits any political assembly of more than 100. However, the march here on Thursday, organised under the banner of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), showed no respect to the NDMA stipulations.

The march took a violent turn after police prevented them from heading towards the state secretariat, which incidentally is closed for Thursday and Friday for sanitisation.

The irate party workers tried to break barriers erected by police and threw stones at them. Police also alleged that there have been instances of throwing of bombs at them by the protesters.

One protester, said to be an associate of BJP MP Arjun Singh, was found carrying a firearm.

The police, in return, resorted to water cannons and fired tear gas shells, besides lathicharging the workers, to disperse the crowd.

Several BJP workers, including state vice-president Raju Banerjee, were injured in the clash.

Party workers also set tyres on fire as a mark of protest. Leaders like Arjun Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Locket Chatterjee, newly-appointed BJYM president Tejasvi Surya and Mukul Roy were among those present on the spot.

Incidentally, West Bengal’s ruling TMC too organised a women’s rally at Jadavpur in Kolkata on Thursday where the number of participants was substantially more than 100. The objective of this rally was to seek justice for the Hathras victim.

When asked, TMC leader Chandrima Banerjee, who was leading the women’s rally, said that the difference between the TMC rally and the BJP march was that the one organised by them was “peaceful” while the one by the BJP was “violent”.

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