Kolkata and several parts of Bengal resembled a battlefield on Tuesday as BJP leaders and workers clashed with the police during their ‘Nabanna Obhijan’, or protest march to the state secretariat, to demonstrate against the corrupt practices of the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state. Several BJP leaders sustained injuries and many police officers have been hurt in the clashes.
The Leader of Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, MP Locket Chatterjee, senior leader Rahul Sinha and others have been detained by the police during the march to the secretariat. Fashion designer and senior BJP leader Agnimitra Paul was also detained from a protest site at Howrah Maidan.
HERE ARE THE TOP DEVELOPMENTS SO FAR:
1. The police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters, who tried to breach the barricades put up at several points across Kolkata and its adjoining areas.
2. In Santragachhi, the agitators hurled stones at the police who were trying to disband them. Similar clashes were reported in neighbouring Howrah, Kolkata’s Lalbazar and MG Road areas, where violent protesters engaged in a scuffle with the police.
3. Incidents of arson and vandalism were also reported. A police kiosk was damaged as demonstrators were stopped from marching ahead in the city. In Lalbazar – where the Kolkata Police’s headquarters are located, a police vehicle was set on fire. Another cop car was set ablaze in central Kolkata’s busy Burrabazar area.
4. BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar staged a sit-in in Howrah when he was stopped from going towards Nabanna. “This autocratic Mamata Banerjee government does not believe in giving space to opposition parties,” he told news agency PTI. The state BJP chief also claimed that it is a shame that the police are acting in a partisan manner and that “some of them have turned into puppets of the ruling TMC”.
5. Suvendu Adhikari, once Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s closest aide until he switched over before the 2021 polls, claimed that the chief minister is enforcing a ‘North Korea-like dictatorship’ in the state. “Mamata Banerjee doesn’t have the support of her people. So she is enforcing a dictatorship similar to North Korea in Bengal… The police will have to pay for what they have been doing since Monday. The BJP is coming,” Adhikari warned.
6. BJP’s national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, who led the rally near Howrah Bridge, left when the police began lathicharging BJP workers. “Our fight against this jungle raj will continue,” Dilip Ghosh said.
7. The Trinamool Congress has lashed out at the BJP over the clashes and violence across the state and its capital Kolkata, where normal life has come to a standstill, causing massive inconvenience to the common people. “BJP karyakartas or hooligans? Destroying and damaging government property, attacking police personnel, causing chaos and disrupting peace across the state – today’s activities of the BJP have brought shame upon the entire nation. We strongly condemn such outrageous behavior,” the TMC said on Twitter.
8. Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh alleged that the BJP was instigating trouble under the garb of protest. “It is a part of a bigger game plan to destabilise Bengal this festive season. This is not a democratic movement. This is goondaism,” Ghosh said.
9. A Kolkata Police officer said no serious injuries to any protestors have been reported, even as several police personnel have been injured. Two police officers of the Kolkata Police – Debjit Chatterjee and Sarfaraz – were injured in the violence.
10. The BJP had booked seven trains to ferry supporters from north and south Bengal for their ‘Nabanna Obhijan’. Buses were booked to bring in workers and supporters to Kolkata from the neighbouring areas. However, according to the saffron party, BJP workers and leaders were stopped from boarding the special trains and several buses were stopped by the police on their way to Kolkata.