India / BJP workers and police clash during rally in WB; party claims 1 worker died

Zoom News : Dec 07, 2020, 08:13 PM
Siliguri: The BJP rally at Siliguri in north Bengal on Monday afternoon ended up in a pitched battle after police used water cannons and burst tear gas shells to stop the party workers from moving past barricades at two points near branch secretariat 'Uttarkanya'. A BJP worker's death has been reported.

The rally was part of the BJP’s ongoing agitation programmes against the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government. Violating prohibitory orders under Section 144, the activists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) took out two protest marches.

They alleged that the state government has not fulfilled the promises made to the people of north Bengal, and benefits of the welfare schemes launched by the ruling dispensation has failed to reach common man.

In retaliation to the police action, the workers, who were leading two processions from opposite directions, pelted stones at the police indiscriminately. Some activists even set fire to the bamboo barricades set up in the area.

In the ensuing action, one BJP worker was killed. "Today in Siliguri, serious acts of violence committed by supporters of a political party during their protest. Only water cannons & tear gas used to disperse violent crowd. Death of a person has been reported. Actual cause of death will be known only after postmortem," West Begal police said.

The party's president in West Bengal, Dilip Ghosh, who led a rally to Fulbari Bazar -- one of the two approach points to the secretariat -- said the government was "using coercion" as it was scared of BJP's rise in Bengal.

He accused the local administration of setting up "a virtual island in Siliguri town by putting up multiple barricades in places to foil a democratic movement."

A second rally, led by party national secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and BJYM national unit president Tejaswi Surya, broke the first two layers of the police cordon near Tinbatti More -- about 1 km from Uttarkanya -- but could not get past the third.

"Many BJP workers were injured during their peaceful protest. Democracy is being murdered in West Bengal," Surya told ANI.

According to BJP sources, Vijayvargiya and Surya had to be escorted to their vehicles by their personal security guards.

“The violence was a public display of the violence the BJP believes in. Its workers provoked the police to open fire. I thank the police for handling the situation. The BJP will fail to create disturbance in the state," said Saugata Roy, TMC Lok Sabha member and party spokesperson.

Meanwhile, reacting to the BJP's claims of 'misrule', West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the BJP has turned a blind eye towards the state's welfare policies.

"No matter how much work we do, our policies are always labelled bad. Rafale scam wasn't bad, PM CARES fund which does not divulge its details isn't bad for them (BJP) but they want an account of Amphan cyclone damage here," she said.