WITH THE BJP and Trinamool Congress workers clashing in Kolkata on Friday, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s (BJYM) motorcycle rally reached the city, the Calcutta High Court directed that the rally be stopped and rescheduled from January 15. It will now culminate at Cooch Behar on January 20 — two days behind schedule.
The order came after state BJP moved the high court on Friday, hours after several people sustained injuries in clashes at two places in Kolkata, including the state BJP’s office.
Counsel Brajesh Jha, who moved the court on behalf of the BJP, said: “The court has asked the BJP to postpone the bike rally for next three days and start again from January 15. The government tried to either postpone the rally or deny us permission to take it out. But the honorable court has not denied us permission and instead asked us to organise the rally from January 15 to 20.”
“It also asked the state government to make adequate security arrangements for the rally. We have to keep a special observer and a judicial magistrate updated about the route of the rally,” he added.
With the state government cancelling nod for the rally at the last minute, BJP had initially moved the HC on Wednesday. While the court allowed the rally to be taken out, the state government had appealed in the HC on Thursday, citing lack of police personnel owing to the ongoing Gangasagar Mela. However, the HC directed that the rally will be taken out under the supervision of a court-appointed special officer.
Following the HC nod to the BJYM motorcycle rally, the ‘Sankalpa Pratirodh Yatra’ started from New Digha, where BJYM workers alleged that they were attacked by Trinamool workers and also stopped by the police.
While the rally reached Kolkata on Thursday evening, fresh clashes erupted on Friday, in which the vehicle of the special officer, Rabishankar Dutta, was damaged.
PTI adds: Dutta told a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice A Banerjee that the windscreen and a side screen of his vehicle were smashed by a group of 20 to 25 men throwing stones and glass bottles near Mohammed Ali Park on Central Avenue in Kolkata. He added that pieces of glass fell on his hands. He also told the court that he had suspended the rally for the day following the attack.
Advocate General Kishore Datta submitted before the court that FIRs have been lodged in connection with the incident and that 10 people have been arrested. The AG prayed that the rally be suspended till January 26, as there is paucity of police personnel owing to the Gangasagar Mela.
Saptangshu Mitra, the counsel for BJYM, opposed the prayer saying that preparations have already been made and this will cause major inconvenience, as the rally has already begun.
The AG then told the court that the organisers had not followed the court’s instruction to provide detailed route map for the rally a day in advance for each day’s event. He prayed that such time was necessary to make arrangements as the organisers have estimated that around 20,000 motorbikes would participate in the rally, which would move through several districts of the state.
The division bench then directed that the movement of the rally be postponed. In the meantime, detailed route maps would have to be provided and the special officer and a judicial officer accompanying the rally would sit together to discuss modalities over each day’s rally.
With PTI inputs