Stopped by the police on Saturday from visiting Nandigram, in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district, where he was scheduled to address a rally in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Lok Sabha MP from Medinipur and state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh accused the police of baton-charging BJP workers while they were holding a “peaceful rally”.
Ghosh shared a video of the incident on Twitter and posted: “Witness the dismal state of democracy in Paschim Banga.
The police is pulling the collar of the district president and is busy with lathicharge on our party members in order to stop a peaceful procession at Nandigram.”
Around noon, the police stopped Ghosh, who tried to enter Nandigram through Chandipur, at Tengua More, following which there was a scuffle between BJP workers and security personnel. Police officials told PTI that they were provoked to baton-charge.
Amid the commotion, BJP’s state general secretary Sayantan Basu started addressing party workers from his car. Police soon stopped him, leading to further trouble, officials said.
“We follow rules and laws, that’s why we are leaving today. But I will come back and go to Nandigram,” Ghosh said.
He said, “I have seen the police beating our party workers for doing no wrong. There were thousands of party workers with us; we could have broken the barricade if I wanted to. But that was not our aim…. We want to break the autocratic, undemocratic government ruling West Bengal.”
“Around 15 days back, we had written to the Superintendent of Police seeking permission. We had also written to the officer-in-charge of the local police station…. Even after that, they did not give us permission. Police baton-charged our party workers for no reason,” Ghosh was quoted by PTI.
A senior police officer, however, denied receiving any letter from the BJP seeking permission for the rally in Nandigram, PTI reported. “We got the information that the BJP was planning to hold a rally from the media. Political parties need to have police permission to hold any kind of rallies. So we stopped them from entering the area… This could have disturbed the peaceful situation there,” the officer told PTI.
After Nandigram, Ghosh was scheduled to address a meeting at Panskura, in the same district, According to the BJP leader, authorities, ostensibly under direction from TMC leaders, put up road blockade on way to Panskura, forcing the BJP workers and leaders to take another route to get to the town.
The Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, hit out at the BJP for trying to go to Nandigram without police permission.
“We have to follow the rules… We need to see whether they conducted the rally following rules or flouting it,” TMC leader and state minister Subrata Mukherjee said. “They (BJP) can break the barricades, they can break heads of common people, they can break their rib cage… that’s all they can do,” he said.