Birbhum (West Bengal), April 11 (IANS) A clash broke out between police and participants at a Hanuman Jayanti rally in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Tuesday, police said.
The rally, brought out on the streets of the district headquarters Suri, with the participants carrying saffron flags, was stopped by police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel near the Barabagan area, sparking trouble.
Stating that permission for any such rallies had not been given, police said they were forced to intervene when the participants tried to enter the “sensitive areas of the town”.
“We did not give them permission for any such rally in the area and asked them not to invite any political leaders. In spite of that, there was a rally. We did not initially object but had to intervene when they tried to enter the more sensitive areas of the town with a mixed population,” Birbhum’s Superintendent of Police N. Sudheer Kumar told IANS.
Police resorted to a baton charge to control the situation. A few rally participants were also held for alleged violence.
“Some people were detained as they did not listen to police and tried to assault our personnel. We had to forcefully stop them and ensure that the situation is under control,” the officer said.
Accusing Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Dilip Ghosh of inciting the rally organisers, district Trinamool Congress president Anubrata Mondal said the police action was correct and necessary.
“Dilip Ghosh was supposed to attend this rally. He did not come himself but tried to incite the locals from Kolkata. These tactics won’t work in Birbhum,” Mondal said.
“Police had no objections initially but asked the rally not to enter the Madrasa road. They did not listen to police. The rally was totally disorganised. I think what police has done is correct,” he added.
The Trinamool leader also announced that a “Ram-Rahim” rally would be taken out in Suri town on April 16 to counter the Hindu right wing forces. “We expect seven thousand people to walk in the rally. We respect both Ran and Rahim equally,” he said.
Ghosh, on the other hand accused the state government of fomenting tension by withdrawing permission to Tuesday’s rally.
“The Sub-Divisional Officer had given permission. But I don’t know what happened. May be it was as per Anubrata’s wish or due to pressure on the police from higher ups.”
“What sort of law and order is this? Is it Taliban rule? The government is creating tension,” he said.
BJP national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, who is in Kolkata for a party programme, alleged that the police rained batons on participants at the ‘peaceful’ rally, and assailed the government for refusal of permission.
“No government in India has ever shown such discrimination before the Trinamool,” he said.
Countering the BJP leaders, Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee alleged that efforts were being made to “destroy” peace and brotherhood in the society, but the plans won’t succeed.
“They are carrying swords, sometimes they are making bombs, trying to divide the society. They want to destroy peace and brotherhood in the society. This does not gel with Bengal’s culture and politics.
The politics of bringing about a communal polarisation will not succeed in Bengal,” said Chatterjee, also the state Education Minister.
Meanwhike, the Trinamool brought out Hanuman Jayanti rallies in various parts of the state. In Howrah, one such rally was led by state minister of state for sports Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who also raised the slogan “Jai Shree Ram”.
Trinamool legislator Baishali Dalmiya spearheaded another rally in the district.
In Hooghly, some Trinamool leaders were seen carrying some traditional weapons like swords as part of a Hanuman Jayanti procession.