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Bengal: Union minister alleges illegal detention, police say he himself boarded van

The party claimed that several of its leaders and workers were arrested, including Union Minister of State for Shipping Shantanu Thakur. However, the police claimed that Thakur himself boarded a police vehicle.

Shantanu Thakur (Twitter: Shantanu Thakur)

The BJP on Tuesday organised “Shahid Samman Yatra [Respect for Martyrs March]” across West Bengal to protest against alleged post-poll violence in the state. The minister participated in the yatra at Gouripur in North 24 Parganas district. The police said they stopped the demonstrators for protesting despite not receiving permission to hold the event, and took some of them into a prison van. Thakur himself jumped into the van and went to the police station, the police added. The Bongaon MP later held a sit-in. Later in the day, all the BJP workers and leaders were released.

After getting out of the station, Thakur alleged that he was illegally detained for more than two hours. “I came here to offer puja and was arrested by the police. If I had got arrested on my own then why are so many other workers here with me? The police told me that I was doing illegal work…,” he said.

In a tweet, BJP president JP Nadda said, “During Shahid Samman Yatra, the way Shantanu Thakur and other MLAs have been arrested is condemnable. This incident has insulted Shahid families and the Matua samaj.”

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TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “I have no information thatThakur has been arrested. I saw one MP jumped into the prison van. This is cheap publicity.”

Meanwhile, the police detained several BJP workers, including MLA Shankar Ghosh, in Siliguri for gathering without permission amid the Covid 19-related restrictions. In Kolkata, Union minister Subhas Sarkar who was scheduled to lead one part of the yatra from the state BJP headquarters to Burdwan city said the police stopped him from travelling with party supporters.

The Union minister continued his journey in his car, and also visited Belur Math on the way.

“We were not violating any Covid-related protocols. The police did not allow BJP supporters to accompany me. They are scared of democratic protests. We will continue to raise our voice against such atrocities,” he added.

First published on: 18-08-2021 at 05:54:10 am
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