(Eds: Updating with details and court order) Kolkata, Jan 12 (PTI) BJP and Trinamoool Congress (TMC) activists today clashed outside the saffron party’s headquarters here and at another place in the city in which several workers of both the parties were injured, the police said.
The attack outside the BJP headquarters prompted the party’s West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh to demand President’s Rule in the state with he alleging that law and order had gone for a toss.
The clash ensued when sloganeering TMC workers allegedly pelted stones at the BJP headquarters around 10.30 am. Several people were injured in the clash, the police said.
The vehicle of Calcutta High Court-appointed Special Officer Rabishankar Dutta was damaged in the violence, they said.
Dutta later informed the court that his vehicle’s windscreen and a sidescreen were smashed when 20 to 25 men near Mohammed Ali Park suddenly started throwing stones and glass bottles at it.
The police said that a huge police contingent was rushed to the spot and the situation was brought under control.
Ghosh alleged, “Stones were pelted at our party office and cars parked outside. More than 10 workers of our party suffered severe injuries.”
“Is this democracy? The law and order situation has completely broken down. Only President’s Rule can bring back the rule of law in the state,” he said.
However, TMC minister Partha Chatterjee rubbished the allegations and said that the BJP was engineering violence to disturb the peace and stability of the state.
“TMC activists were attacked by the BJP. Our party will never allow a communal force like the BJP to disturb the peace prevailing in the state. They are doing it to make their presence felt,” he said.
TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee also condemned the violence and accused the BJP of letting loose a reign of terror just for making it to the front pages of newspapers.
Another clash occurred between workers of the parties at the Jorabagan area in central Kolkata over a motorcycle rally by the BJP’s youth wing to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanada.
The party claimed that Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) state president Debjit Sarkar was injured in the clash and was hospitalised.
The BJP staged a sit-in at the Gandhi statue on Mayo Road wearing black bands on their faces to protest against the alleged attack.
The state BJP president along with Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and other senior party leaders were present at the demonstration.
The BJP has decided to put on hold the BJYM’s motorcycle rally that started in Contai, in the southern part of the state, and was scheduled to end on January 18 in Coochbehar in the north.
The party said its was tough to carry on with the programme in the present circumstances.
“We have decided to put an hold on the rally, we will take a call within next two days. We don’t have faith on state police. We want the rally to be organised under the protection of central forces,” Ghosh said.
The Calcutta High Court has directed that the BJYM’s rally be stopped for two days and recommence from January 15, following the mob attack on it here.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice A Banerjee directed that further movement of the rally be postponed till January 15 and would end at Coochbehar on January 20, two days after the original schedule.
Ghosh claimed that Union minister Nitin Gadkari has decided not to attend the upcoming Bengal Global Business Summit 2018 in view of the “brutal attack” on BJP workers.
BJP sources said that party president Amit Shah spoke to Ghosh and inquired about the incident.
A BJP delegation later met state governor K N Tripathi and complained about the incident. The party has also decided to organise a demostration outside all police stations in the state tomorrow.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.