On Thursday, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) supporters, who were protesting near Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee’s south Kolkata residence clashed with the police. The pitched battle at several points in the Hazra-Kalighat stretch caused traffic disruption for over an hour. 13 constables and 4 BJP activists were injured. Police arrested 22 supporters including 5 women and BJP leader Joyprakash Mazumdar. 12 of the arrested persons have got bail.
BJP’s Kolkata unit had arranged protest rally against Wednesday’s assault on Babul Supriyo, Union Minister, at Asansol by an alleged TMC (TrinaMool Congress) supporter.
Senior BJP leaders Rahul Sinha, Rajya Sabha member Roopa Ganguly Kolkata leaders and familiar faces in television talk shows, Joyprakash Majumdar and Ritesh Tiwari, led the rally from the front. At around 2 pm trouble broke out when the rallyists tried to take the Kalighat route that led to CM’s residence. Police tried to push back them.
Things went out of control when the BJP activists came back with reinforced strength as their two leaders, Roopa Ganguly at Hazra and Rahul Sinha at Rashbihari end, stayed put and refused to move out of the spot. A insignificant scuffle broke out and the police resorted to lathi charge. Mukesh Shaw, the puchka seller standing near Hazra crossing said, “An ambulance got stuck near Kalighat tram depot while rallyists and police played cat and mouse for half an hour. I found a BJP supporter bleeding profusely after a policeman hit him on head.”
Roopa Ganguly complained that some policemen hit the rallyists from behind. She said, “We have the right to protest.” Condemning the arrests, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha accused the police of coming down on a “peaceful agitation.” Partha Chatterjee, TMC’s secretary-general, said the “police only did their job.”
Police registered two separate FIRs at Kalighat and Bhowanipore police stations. One of the FIRs has certain non-bailable charges pertaining to rioting.