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Does Bengal Have Right To Protest: BJP's Jibe After Violence In Kolkata

BJP workers and supporters clashed with police, hurling stones and blocking roads.

Highlights

  • BJP workers, supporters were protesting the killings of party workers
  • Violence started outside the state secretariat “Nabanna”
  • Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad blamed Mamata Banerjee for violence

New Delhi:

The top BJP leadership today blamed Chief  Minister Mamata Banerjee for the violence and clashes that swept across the city as the party held a protest march in violation of prohibitory orders banning large gatherings. Senior BJP leader and Union minster Ravi Shankar Prasad said despite Mamata Banerjee’s concerns about democracy, her government did not follow its tenets.

“Does your state have the right to protest or not? Protestors are murdered. Because the ground under your feet is shifting, because the BJP got 18 seats in Lok Sabha,” he said.

The violence that started outside the state secretariat “Nabanna” had spiralled, engulfing several spots in the city that resembled battle zones.  

BJP workers and supporters clashed with police, hurling stones and blocking roads with burning tyres, to protest a string of killings of saffron party workers.

“There were more than 1 lakh people at the march and more than 1,500 party workers are injured,” Mr Prasad said.

Denouncing the violence in the state, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Will Mamata-ji stop the BJP’s expansion in Bengal with sticks and the brutality of the police? The people of Bengal want change”.

“There is a lot of uproar regarding BJP-ruled states but why the silence on Bengal?” he added.

BJP Chief JP Nada tweeted: “Mamata Banerjee’s karyakartas and the Gov machinery led by her have unleashed brute force upon BJP karyakartas in an attempt to prevent them from holding protests against her tyrannical & bloodied misrule in West Bengal. Such misuse of power is totally unacceptable & condemnable.”

Across the city, the BJP had held three marches all of which were making their way towards the state secretariat.  The biggest of them, from maidan, was led by Tejasvi Surya, the party’s new youth wing chief who flew down to Kolkata for the event.

The protesters were stopped midway, prompting angry BJP supporters to attack the police with stones. When they tried to pull down the barricades, the police responded with teargas shells.

An unspecified number of protesters were detained. Police claimed they recovered a loaded pistol from one of the protesters. The police also said the BJP workers were targeting them with crude bombs, an accusation the BJP denied.

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