After BJP workers chanted “goli maaro (shoot them)” slogans — first raised by party leaders during the Delhi Assembly elections — on their way to attend Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata’s Esplanade area Sunday, the CPM and the Congress said the saffron party was trying to disturb peace in the state on the lines of Delhi.
The state BJP leadership, however, denied involvement of any party worker in the incident and termed it as the “handiwork of the TMC”. State BJP vice-president Subhas Sarkar said no party workers were involved in this sloganeering. “It was a mega rally in Kolkata. We feel that it was the handiwork of the TMC to malign our party,” Sarkar said.
A senior Kolkata Police officer declined to comment on the incident but said strict action will be taken against anybody trying to disrupt law and order. “No arrest has been made in this connection till evening,” he said.
Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Chowdhury said, “After spreading violence in Delhi, the BJP is trying to create the same situation in Bengal. Such slogans just reflect that. We all have to come together to resist them.”
Congress MLA Manoj Chakraborty said, “The BJP is trying to bring the Delhi violence to Bengal. This is their culture. By raising such slogans, they are trying to spread disturbance in Bengal. What is Trinamool Congress’s police doing? Why are BJP supporters not arrested?”
The CPM said the slogan had struck a chord with the followers of Nathuram Godse, who shot Mahatma Gandhi.
CPM leader Mohammad Salim tweeted, “All it took was one visit of Amit Shah to spread the “Goli Maaro Saalon Ko” slogan in Kolkata. The followers of Godse might be impressed with “Goli”, but Bengal is the land of Vivekananda, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Tagore. #GoBackAmitShah.”
Meanwhile, CPI(M) and Congress organised rallies in different parts of Kolkata against Shah’s rally.
As Shah arrived in the city Sunday morning, hundreds of Left and Congress protesters, carrying black flags and anti-CAA posters, demonstrated outside the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport and raised ‘Go Back’ slogans.
Later in the day, a minor scuffle broke out between police personnel and protesters in Esplanade area when agitators tried to break the barricade and enter Shahid Minar Ground where Shah was scheduled to hold a rally, a senior police officer said.
CPI(M) Legislature Party leader Sujan Chakraborty led a large rally in Santoshpur in south Kolkata, while Congress activists took out a protest march from Beckbagan to Park Circus and burnt an effigy of the Union home minister.
CPI(M)-affiliated SFI and DYFI also took out rallies in Shyambazar, Gariahat, Behala, Kaikhali and Entally areas.
“Kolkata had shouted ‘Go Back’ slogans during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city in January. We will not allow Shah to hold a rally here. He (Shah) is not welcome here. Hands of both these leaders are soaked in the blood of people killed in Gujarat riots. The Union home minister is equally responsible for the violence in Delhi,” Chakraborty said, demanding arrest of BJP supporters under stringent provisions of the IPC.
The CPI(M) leader hit out at the TMC-led government in the state for granting permission for Shah’s rally.
“The understanding between the Modi and the Mamata governments is the reason why permission was granted to hold a rally even when Class 12 Board examinations are around and blaring of loudspeakers is prohibited. This is a courtesy of the state government to Shah,” Chakraborty said.
Congress leader Monoj Chakraborty said, “All over the state, no organisation gave permission for meeting because of Class 10 examinations. But Amit Shah’s rally got permission two days after his meeting with Mamata Banerjee. If she is a true secular, then arrest those culprits who spread this slogan at Kolkata. They should know Kolkata is not Uttar Pradesh.”
The police cordoned off the Shah rally to prevent any untoward incident.
“We have taken all forms of precautionary measures to counter any untoward incident during Amit Shah’s visit city,” a police officer said.
(With PTI inputs)
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