Around 16 policemen were injured in a clash with BJP workers in Jalpaiguri district Friday, police said.
The BJP workers vandalised a police vehicle, officials claimed, adding that a bus conductor and a college lecturer were among those injured.
The incident took Friday evening when the BJP workers were heading to Cooch Behar from where the party’s first ‘rath yatra’ was supposed to start. After the Calcutta High Court denied permission, police officers stopped the buses carrying the BJP workers.
“They kept pelting stones and Additional SP Thendu Serpa was injured after a stone hit his right eye. He is admitted to a Siliguri hospital. Besides him, eight to ten injured policemen were admitted in Dhupjhora rural hospital. Around 16 policemen were injured. They (BJP workers) vandalised a police vehicle. Conductor of a state transport bus, which was vandalised by them, and a college lecturer, who got stuck in the clash, were also injured,” Jalpaiguri SP Amitava Maity told The Indian Express.
Possibility of unrest: main grouse of administration
The primary reason the Bengal administration cited while opposing permission for BJP’s ‘rath yatras’ at Calcutta HC was a possible disruption in law and order. Police and administration highlighted possible communal problems along the route, which includes minority-dominated areas. The police report even cited the violence in UP’s Bulandshahr, in which a policeman and youth lost their lives. The matter was negated by BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi Friday, where he said there is no evidence of such a possibility. While the BJP is vehemently defending its ‘rath yatras’ as peaceful processions, sources said the state administration is will still deliberate on the possibility of unrest.
According to police, some of the workers had been identified through a CCTV camera installed in the area.
“A suo motu case will be registered for attacking police officers on duty and damaging public property,” a police officer said.
Police claimed that since the clash happened in a forested area, the BJP workers took advantage of the same.
“A huge number of police officers have been deployed. Efforts are on to arrest all those who were involved in the attack,” a police officer said.
Meanwhile, the BJP called the incident “a fallout of people’s anger against police attitude”.
“Police had been stopping BJP workers from going for the public rally. This triggered anger and a scuffle took place. We have no intention of attacking police, but if police keeps behaving like TMC cadres then such incidents will rise,” said BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu.
On Friday, the high court direct top government officials to decide on the matter by December 14.