New Delhi: Clashes were reported in Kolkata and Howrah Thursday as police tried to block a BJP march to Nabanna, the state secretariat, against what the protestors described as Bengal’s “worsening law and order situation”.
The march, “Nabanna Chalo (let’s go to Nabanna)” came days after a BJP member was shot in Barrackpore, around 20 km from Kolkata.
The state government had earlier refused permission for the rally by invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government Wednesday said Nabanna would remain shut on Thursday and Friday, reportedly for sanitisation purposes.
The clashes Thursday were reported from three places — in the Hastings area of Kolkata, and Howrah Maidan and Santragachi in Howrah, where Nabanna is located.
The protest rally was organised by the youth wing of the BJP, but participants included MPs and party general secretary in charge for Bengal, Kailash Vijaywargiya.
According to agency reports, BJP West Bengal vice-president Raju Banerjee and MP Jyotirmoy were injured in the clashes.
The clashes erupted when party workers from the BJP tried breaking through barriers during their march, police was quoted as saying by PTI.
#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
According to videos captured by ANI, BJP workers reportedly set tires ablaze in Howrah.
The BJP, meanwhile, lashed out at the Mamata Banerjee government for turning “a peaceful demonstration violent”.
“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,” Vijaywargiya was quoted as saying by ANI.