TOP BJP leaders, including Bengal convenor Kailash Vijayvargiya and co-convenors Sidharth Nath Singh and Suresh Pujari, on Thursday sustained injuries in alleged police lathicharge during a law violation programme in North-24 Parganas and Nadia districts. The police, however, denied that they had lathicharged BJP workers.
Singh said the BJP workers were protesting against the “activities of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, deteriorating law and order situation and attack on women in the state”.
In North-24 Parganas, the party took out a rally from Kachhari Maidan in Barasat. As it progressed towards the district magistrate’s office, party workers tried to break a barricade set up by the police. This led to a scuffle between the two, with police allegedly resorting to lathicharge. Singh was hit on his legs and shoulder.
Following this, angry BJP supporters reportedly beat up several police personnel, injuring many, including the in-charge of Barasat police station.
Additional SP Tarun Haldar refuted BJP’s charge and said the police did not resort to any lathicharge. He added that around 10 police officers, including five women, were injured.
On whether he was injured, Singh said, “There was a scuffle and the police used lathis in which some of our party workers were injured. I am also hurt.” He added that “lakhs of BJP workers were already prepared for it”.
The BJP national secretary said they wanted to meet the district magistrate, but were stopped by the police who erected barricades. Accusing the Trinamool government of being “intolerant” towards Opposition parties, he said police had to carry out instructions of the government.
At Krishnanagar in Nadia too, Pujari, Vijayvargiya and the newly appointed BJP state president Dilip Ghosh were leading a rally. While the rally progressed towards the Nadia Collectorate, a scuffle broke out between the policemen and party workers near Krishnanagar Rabindra Bhawan. This reportedly led to stone-pelting followed by the police resorting to lathicharge.
“We had taken out a peaceful rally, which was attacked by the police. They lathicharged us without any provocation. I was injured. If Didi (CM Mamata Banerjee) wants to suppress our voice in this manner, it will not be possible. We will hold a bigger movement next time,” Vijayvargiya said.
Dilip Ghosh said 17 BJP workers had been taken to the hospital. “We were protesting against the prevailing corruption in the government and its proximity to terror outfits. Police refused to arrest us and attacked us,” he claimed.
Pujari added: “There seems to be no difference between Trinamool and police. They will not be able to stop us like this.”
When contacted, Nadia SP Bharat Lal Meena said while there was stone-pelting, the police did not lathicharge BJP workers. “Five police personnel were injured in the incident,” he said.
Later, BJP MLA Samik Bhattacharya told mediapersons that the party will hold a statewide road blockade on Friday. “Police had lathicharged a peaceful rally,” he said. When told BJP supporters too had beat up police personnel, he said: “It was a reaction to the unprovoked lathicharge. What do you expect? Police will hit our national spokesperson and BJP workers would put garlands around their necks.”