SENIOR BJP leaders, including state party president Dilip Ghosh, state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya and MP Roopa Ganguly, were on Friday discharged by courts following their arrest during the party’s Lalbazar Abhijan (march to Kolkata Police headquaters). Fourteen leaders and workers were on Thursday arrested for allegedly indulging in violence during the protest. While seven were remanded to police custody by a city court, the others were granted bail by another court.
In all, 141 people were arrested, out of which 134 had refused bail on Thursday. They were produced before the courts on Friday morning after spending the night at Lalbazar. Barring seven persons, bail was granted to 127 on a personal bond of Rs 2,000 each along with a surety of similar amount. Vijayvargiya was discharged by Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammed Rafique in connection with a case registered against him by Bowbazar police station to prevent commission of cognisable offences. A similar case was registered at Hare Street police station against Ghosh, Ganguly, former state unit chief Rahul Sinha and party secretary Locket Chatterjee. They were discharged by Acting Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Satya Arnab Ghosh.
PTI reported that their bail prayers were granted as they were charged under bailable sections of the IPC read with West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order Amendment Act-2017. All the five leaders had on Thursday refused to take bail on personal bond, which is granted from police stations in case of preventive arrest, and preferred to be produced before the courts, which discharged them.
The acting CMM, meanwhile, refused bail prayers of seven BJP workers charged under IPC, Explosives Act and West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order Amendment Act, 2017, and remanded them to police custody till May 29. The seven — Joy Chandra, Sunil Sonkar, Sanjoy Kumar Shaw, Mukund Jha, Barun Pal, Jeevan Gop and Amit Jaiswal — were accused of being involved in the hurling of a bomb and indulging in violence during the protest.
After being released from jail, the BJP leaders went on to hold a press conference with Vijayvargiya threatening to “expose” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by “making details of her family property public”. “We were arrested and the Kolkata Police commissioner, who is behaving as deputy CM, is filing false cases against BJP activists. I challenge him to prove even a single case against us. None of the BJP workers had thrown bombs or set police vehicles on fire. This has been done by police and Trinamool goons to malign us. We will move court against Kolkata Police and Rajeev Kumar. We will expose them in court,” Vijayvargiya told mediapersons, PTI reported.
“This government should learn from BJP-ruled states on how one must treat Opposition. The Bengal government doesn’t have a minimum courtesy. Police kept us like criminals,” he added. Alleging that Trinamool Congress was deliberately trying to tarnish BJP’s image, the leaders claimed that non-BJP workers had indulged in violence in Thursday’s silent protest. “A bomb was hurled from a nearby building. Show us one video footage were our party workers are pelting stones. They have CCTV footage, they must identify people. This was done intentionally to malign our image,” said Ghosh.
BJP workers had on Thursday clashed with the police at different places across Kolkata during their march to Lalbazar while protesting against the Mamata government, prompting the force to use teargas shells, water canons, and batons to disperse them.