Nearly a month after a makeshift tent collapsed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Midnapore, leaving 96 people injured, BJP is taking extra precautions for party chief Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata on August 11. The BJP state unit has appealed to the Kolkata Police to grant permission to fly a drone for mass surveillance as well as the use of walkie-talkies for Saturday’s rally. The BJP chief is likely to take on the TMC government over the National Citizens Register (NRC) issue during the rally.
“We have applied for permission from the Kolkata Police for using one drone during Amit Shahji’s rally on Saturday. Drones will help us in keeping an eye on the proceedings in and around the rally area. This is merely for security reasons,” PTI quoted West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh as saying. Ghosh said the party was taking all precautionary steps to avoid another untoward incident. “Walkie-talkies will help in keeping a tab on the ground situation,” Ghosh said.
A makeshift tent collapsed at the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in West Bengal’s Midnapore town on July 16, leaving 96 people injured as a stampede-like situation ensued. The decorator who constructed the tent claimed that the mishap could have been avoided had police personnel and BJP workers heeded his warnings.
A senior officer of Kolkata Police, however, said nothing had been decided on the issue. “We are yet to make a decision on the request made by BJP. A detailed report, stating the reasons, is required before granting permission for drone use,” the officer said.
The officer said the Kolkata Police would provide foolproof security arrangements during Shah’s rally. There would be two daises at the rally venue on Mayo road. “One will be for Shah and senior leaders of the party while the second one will be for other functionaries. We are taking all forms of security measures for it,” he said.
Last week a controversy erupted after BJP alleged that the administration denied it permission to hold a rally at Rani Rashmoni Avenue in central Kolkata.
The city police later clarified that it did not receive any formal application seeking permission to use Rani Rashmoni Avenue from BJP. “Some unwarranted speculation in social media about denial of permission to a political party on August 11 has come to our notice. It is to clarify that on request permission for meeting has already been granted,” it wrote on Twitter.
Reacting to the alleged delay in getting permission for the rally, Shah had said that if the state government wanted it could arrest him, but he would definitely go to Kolkata. Trinamool spokesperson Derek O’Brien retorted by saying the BJP and its national president had become nervous and tense.