The West Bengal government will lodge a protest with the Centre over the “unprecedented” deployment of central forces outside the BJP state office in Kolkata on Tuesday. It claimed that the Centre had overreached even as the situation was under control of the state police. After the arrest of Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay earlier in the day, a mob had surrounded the BJP office. Soon, both sides pelted stones at each other. Twelve people were injured in the incident.
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The central reserve police force (CRPF) was deployed outside the office.
As per a police officer, the Kolkata Police had taken steps to contain the violence. Barricades had been erected and once it became clear that protesters wouldn’t leave, reinforcements were called in. “The entire situation is bizarre,” said a senior police officer. “Why were the police there if the CRPF was to be deployed? And when they did arrive, why did they not do anything? Central forces can’t do anything unless the state tells them to, since law and order is a state subject. So even their deployment is illegal.”
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the party had “informed national leaders” of the situation on Tuesday and claimed that “the local police weren’t cooperating”. It was then that a request had been made to send central forces there.
Sources in the CRPF said the personnel deployed were tasked with the protection of former state BJP chief Rahul Sinha, who was inside the building at that time. The source added that once Sinha had left the premises, the CRPF personnel too withdrew.
TMC leaders would, however, have none of that. Senior leader Partha Chatterjee said, “This is a grave matter. How can CRPF be deployed without state permission? This amounts to complete disregard for federalism.”
Last year, Mamata had refused to yield to a demand from the Centre for Rs 250 crore as payment for deployment of CRPF personnel for various purposes, including Assembly elections.