After Bengal govt says no, BJP ‘rath yatra’ gets HC nod’

By: | Published: December 21, 2018 12:44 AM

Directing the BJP to conduct the programme peacefully, the court said the party would be held responsible in case of any untoward incident or damage or loss to public property.

CALCUTTA High Court on Thursday allowed the BJP to hold its rath yatra programme in West Bengal

THE CALCUTTA High Court on Thursday allowed the BJP to hold its rath yatra programme in West Bengal, days after the state government denied permission on the ground that it may lead to communal unrest.

The single judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty, however, laid down a set of conditions for the BJP and the state administration. Directing the BJP to conduct the programme peacefully, the court said the party would be held responsible in case of any untoward incident or damage or loss to public property.

The court also directed the party to ensure that the programme is held in accordance with the law, and does not disrupt traffic. Justice Chakraborty directed the party to inform the superintendents of police of the districts, in which the rallies shall enter, at least 12 hours ahead of schedule. He also directed the police to deploy adequate force to ensure that there is no breach of law and order.

The party had earlier planned three rath yatras — from Cooch Behar, Ganga Sagar and Tarapith — from December 7. The rath yatras were to be held across the state’s 42 parliamentary constituencies over one-and-a-half months. Welcoming the court’s order, the BJP said on Thursday that the new dates would be decided soon.

After the TMC government denied permission on December 15, the state BJP had moved the high court on Monday.

“We were ready to abide by the conditions that have been laid down by the court. We had agreed to abide by similar conditions but the state government deliberately stalled our yatras by making baseless arguments. We thank the court and the people of the state for their support. Now, we will sit and decide the fresh dates for our rath yatra,” said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh.

“All three rath yatras planned from Cooch Behar, Ganga Sagar and Tarapith will be held, but the dates will change. Party president Amit Shah will inaugurate the yatras. In view of the festive season and exams beginning from February, we may reduce the duration of the rallies,” he said.

“We welcome this verdict. This Ganatantra Bachao Yatra will establish democracy in West Bengal. We will expose the dictatorship nature of the TMC government through these rallies. This yatra will build the foundation of the end of TMC rule in Bengal,” said BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.

“It is a victory of democracy and the people of West Bengal… The state government, without any reason, had said that the rath yatra will affect the law and order situation. The court has rejected this, saying it is the duty of the administration to ensure law and order, and directed it to provide adequate security.

The court has asked us to conduct the rallies peacefully, and we will abide by that,” said state BJP vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar.

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