‘Nabanna Abhijan’: Highways turn battlefield in West Bengal as protests against Mamata govt take a violent turn  | The Financial Express

‘Nabanna Abhijan’: Highways turn battlefield in West Bengal as protests against Mamata govt take a violent turn 

Even without the presence of its top leaders, a defiant BJP continued its march from Howrah district’s Santragachi area towards Nabanna. As the police intercepted the protesters, the protest site turned into a battleground with several BJP workers clashing with the cops.

‘Nabanna Abhijan’: Highways turn battlefield in West Bengal as protests against Mamata govt take a violent turn 
Police use water-cannons to disperse BJP protesters. (Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Several top BJP leaders in West Bengal including Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, BJP MP from Hooghly Locket Chatterjee and Rahul Sinha were detained by the Kolkata Police at the Second Hooghly Bridge and taken to the Lalbazar police station in the city as the opposition party organised a huge march towards Nabanna (the state government secretariat) in Howrah to protest against the TMC government’s alleged corrupt practices.

Even without the presence of its top leaders, a defiant BJP continued its march from Howrah district’s Santragachi area towards Nabanna. As the police intercepted the protesters, the protest site turned into a battleground with several BJP workers clashing with the cops. According to reports, the protesters started pelting stones at the police. The police resorted to lathi-charge, while using tear-gas and water-cannons in a bid to disperse the protesters.

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The BJP on Tuesday organised ‘Nabanna Cholo’ (March to Secretariat) rally to raise their voices against the alleged corrupt practices in the ruling Trinamool dispensation. The security around the Secretariat was heightened following news of a massive BJP rally. Workers from all across the state converged at Kolkata to participate in the march.

“CM Mamata doesn’t have the support of her people and so she is enforcing dictatorship, similar to North Korea in Bengal… Police will have to pay for what it’s been doing since yesterday, BJP is coming,” Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said ahead of the ‘Nabanna Chalo’ march.

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According to IE Bangla, the BJP workers vandalised the police kiosks and threw stones and pebbles from the railway track at the police. As the clashes between the police and the BJP supporters intensified, Adhikari tweeted a video of a peaceful protest and added a caption reading, “Glimpses of @WBPolice atrocities. They are trampling upon the fundamental rights of citizens ensured by Article 19 of The Constitution Of India: # to assemble peaceably # to move freely throughout the territory of India. People are resisting spontaneously.”

Ahead of the rally, Adhikari had fired a warning shot at the Mamata government and tweeted, “Mamata Police is on a war footing, trying to crush a democratic political event. The barricade of steel raised at Santragachi symbolizes her anxiety & timidity. Remember this @MamataOfficial, no wall can stand up to the ‘wave of democracy’, it would be breached sooner than later.”

BJP workers from several corners of the state have assembled in Howrah to participate in the party’s mega rally. When reports of police stopping several BJP workers in Bolpur station to get on a train to Howrah surfaced, BJP MP Dilip Ghosh, lashing out at the Bengal government, said, “Where is the need to be so afraid? Wherever the police stops us, we will not fight, we will sit on dharna.” Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar said, “Mamata is afraid of our protests.”

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First published on: 13-09-2022 at 15:27 IST