Praising the police for “handling the protest with calm and patience,” the state government on Thursday said that the BJP’s march to Nabanna, the state secretariat, was taken out without permission and was not within the permissible parameters of the Pandemic Act, which is in force now due to Covid-19.
Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said the government had not given permission to the march as the applicants for it had on Wednesday evening said that several rallies would be taken out and that each would have around 25,000 participants.
“If several such rallies having such a large number of people had to be sanctioned/permitted/ allowed/or condoned that would be have been a travesty as per the National Disaster Management Authority Act or lockdown norms. If there had been few people it could have been navigable. But the application distinctly mentioned a number (of participants) which we had considered rather huge and overwhelmingly higher than the permissible dimension under the regime of the epidemic that the Government of India instituted,” he said.
“We welcome all peaceful and democratic rallies to specific destination where section 144 or other prohibitory order are not violated,” Bandopadhyay added.
The Chief Secretary also praised the police for handling the situation “patiently” though several of them were injured in attacks on them. “Officers of Kolkata Police and state police did a commendable job to maintain peace by keeping their patience. We thank them. There were instigations and there were attacks on the police in which some policemen were injured. Firearms were also seized,” he said.
Around 89 people were detained in Kolkata and 24 people were detained in Howrah, he said.
According to police, protesters were unable to break the barricades set up by them and stopped to march ahead at Hastings, Central Avenue and Santragachi. They said that it became possible as they were prepared. Also, a huge deployment of police and RAF personnel deterred the protesters as drones were used to keep an eye on the protesters’ movements.
The rally routes were also monitored with CCTV cameras installed at crucial locations.
” As a preventive measure, these CCTV cameras were put up to ensure quick action whenever required. We did everything to ensure law and order is maintained. Our colleagues even got injured in the process,” said a senior officer of Howrah Police.
Senior TMC leader Chandrima Bhattacharya also praised the police. “BJP is a party of goons. They know nothing except creating trouble with bombs and pistols. Police stopped these people from turning the situation more violent,” she said.
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