Traffic along Chittaranjan Avenue, one of the major arterial roads in the city, was closed during the peak-hour.
Kolkata: Central Kolkata turned into a battlefield on Friday morning as the BJP and Trinamul Congress workers clashed following an attack on the motorcycle rally by the BJP’s youth wing: Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) on the occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary. The street fight left several injured. Places like Jorabagan and Jorasanko witnessed vandalism of motorcycles.
Shops were closed soon. Traffic along Chittaranjan Avenue, one of the major arterial roads in the city, was closed during the peak-hour.
The fight however took an ugly turn when the car of a special officer, Rabi Shankar Dutta, appointed by the Calcutta high court to monitor the procession came under attack on Chittaranjan Avenue near the state BJP headquarters. Mr Dutta suspended the rally.
After he was rescued by the cops, Mr Dutta complained to the division bench of acting Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee.
According to him, he reached Jorabagan at around 9.30 am and the rally began at 11.30 am. A group of youth attacked his car in the middle of two police pilot cars and they smashed its windscreen, he told the court.
The police submitted video footages of the clash before the division bench. Examining it the high court rescheduled the rally in between January 15 and 20 under the supervision of the special officer accompanied by a magistrate. On Thursday night the BJP workers crowded Binani Bhavan in Jorabagan to attend BJYM’s Pratirodh Sankalp Avijan from Contai to Coochbehar following the Calcutta High Court’s permission.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged that the Trinamul workers first attacked BJP workers at Pathuriaghata Street before pelting stones on the state BJP party heaquarters at around 10.30 am. According to him, more than 10 BJP workers were injured. Trinamul minister Shashi Panja alleged, “We were celebrating Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary peacefully. The BJP suddenly attacked us first.”
Senior BJP leaders later launched a sit-in-demonstration at the Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road. They said they would complain to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.
Mr Ghosh alleged, “There is no democracy or constitution here. Even the court order is violated. We have complained about the violent attack to the Centre. On Saturday protests will be held in front of every police station in the state.”
Another BJP leader Mukul Roy claimed, “In the political history of Bengal many parties took out such rallies. We have seen many rulers in the state. But such a ruler was not seen ever.”
Slamming the BJP Trinamul secretary general Partha Chatterjee, also the education minister, claimed, “The organisers of the rally want to hog into the limelight of the media through hooliganism and violence. And they did it on a day which is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. They were armed with sticks under their party flag following the footsteps of the CPI(M).”
He alleged, “It is unexpected. In other words it is disrespect shown to Vivekananda. Our government always wants peace. We appeal to the people to maintain peace. So why would we resort to violence? We also organise so many rallies. But no violence takes place. No one takes part in it with arms. What kind of politics is the BJP trying to import to the state? We strongly condemn it.”