The Calcutta High Court Friday granted permission to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) to hold a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground on January 14, news agency ANI reported. A day before, Kolkata Police had refused nod to the RSS to hold the rally expected to be attended by the outfit’s chief Mohan Bhagwat. The RSS had Wednesday said it would appeal against the police’s decision in the high court.
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The court’s permission, however, comes with certain conditions. It said the rally should be attended only by invitees and not outsiders, and the strength of the crowd should not exceed 4,000 people. The rally should be held between 2 pm and 6 pm. The court also said adequate police deployment should be made at the venue.
“Democracy has prevailed over gundacracy of TMC. In West Bengal if you want to hold a rally you have to go to the court and not to the state administration as TMC will not give permission for the programme,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh told PTI.
Singh observed that the tendency of the ruling party not to allow opposition parties hold any programme or meeting was a “reflection of an autocratic mindset”.
“They feel it is only their right to hold rallies and meetings in Bengal or Kolkata. But BJP, RSS workers are made of different material and they can’t stop us from raising our voice,” he asserted.
Makar Sankranti is on January 14 and a drill by swayamsevaks in traditional attire has been planned for the rally.
RSS Bengal chief Bidyut Mukherjee had Wednesday told The Indian Express: “We have been functioning in Kolkata since 1939 but never have we faced such a hostile administration. We first asked for Bhukailash Maidan (Kidderpore). The police didn’t allow it. Then we sought permission for Brigade Parade Ground, which too wasn’t granted.”
A senior government official said the government and CM Mamata Banerjee is watching the situation closely. There is a belief that RSS will utilise the opportunity to stoke communal tension in the state, he said.
(with inputs from PTI)