Rath ya­tras not al­lowed as Mamata scared: Amit Shah

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htnation - HT Cor­re­spon­dents let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

TEN­SION Cal­cutta high court pulls up the West Ben­gal gov­ern­ment

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Fri­day said the rea­son why West Ben­gal chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not give the party per­mis­sion to hold three ‘rath ya­tras’ (ral­lies) in the state was be­cause she was “scared” of its ex­pan­sion even as the Cal­cutta high court came down heav­ily on the West Ben­gal gov­ern­ment for not re­spond­ing to let­ters of the BJP seek­ing per­mis­sion for its rath ya­tras in the state.

On Thurs­day, the high court re­fused to grant per­mis­sion to a BJP rally, hours af­ter the state gov­ern­ment told the one-judge bench that the ad­min­is­tra­tion de­nied ap­proval to the event over ap­pre­hen­sions of law and or­der problems. The BJP ap­proached the court again on Fri­day to ap­peal be­fore a divi­sion bench.

A divi­sion bench of jus­tices Biswanath So­mad­der and A Mukher­jee said the gov­ern­ment’s si­lence on the per­mis­sion is “as­ton­ish­ing and as­tound­ing”. The court dis­posed of an ap­peal by the BJP against a sin­gle bench or­der of Thurs­day and di­rected the state to hold the meet­ing by Wed­nes­day (De­cem­ber 12). The chief sec­re­tary and home sec­re­tary and the di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice (DGP) shall hold a meet­ing with three representatives of the BJP by De­cem­ber 12 and take a de­ci­sion on the mat­ter by De­cem­ber 14, the court di­rected.

KOLKATA/NEWDELHI:

“The BJP’s rath ya­tra in Ben­gal has not been can­celled… we will take out the ya­tra,” BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah as­serted at a press con­fer­ence in New Delhi on Fri­day. “These ya­tras will def­i­nitely hap­pen. She [Banerjee] can use what­ever force she wants. I will per­son­ally go to flag off these ya­tra. We will not sur­ren­der.”

How­ever, Shah had to de­fer Fri­day’s rally from Cooch Be­har.

If the state gov­ern­ment refuses to give in to the BJP’s plan yet again, the mat­ter will re­turn to the courts. The Wed­nes­day dead­line set by the court for the par­ties to meet will come a day af­ter count­ing for assem­bly polls in five states —Ra­jasthan, Ch­hat­tis­garh, Mad­hya Pradesh, Mi­zo­ram and Te­lan­gana —are com­pleted and re­sults de­clared.

The BJP had planned three rath ya­tras, in­clud­ing the one in Cooch Be­har which was to be held on Fri­day, cover­ing most of the par­lia­men­tary seats and 294 assem­bly con­stituen­cies over the next one-and-a-half months. The other two marches, which are seen as an ef­fort to ex­pand the party’s foot­print in the state for the Lok Sabha elec­tions next year, were to be held in Gan­gasagar on De­cem­ber 9 and in Tara­p­ith on De­cem­ber 14.

Shah claimed the party wrote to the home sec­re­tary and the di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice on Oc­to­ber 29, seek­ing per­mis­sion for the rally, but they did not re­spond. The BJP, he said, sent re­minders even on Novem­ber 5, 12 and 20.

The po­lice and BJP work­ers fought a pitched bat­tle in a forested area of Jal­paig­uri dis­trict on Fri­day, in­jur­ing 12 po­lice­men, in­clud­ing an ad­di­tional SP.

The ad­di­tional SP was se­ri­ously in­jured af­ter a stone hit him in the eye, Jal­paig­uri SP Amitabha Maiti said.

The in­ci­dent took place near Dhupjhora when the BJP ac­tivists were go­ing to a pub­lic meet­ing of se­nior party lead­ers in neigh­bour­ing Cooch Be­har dis­trict.

The bus car­ry­ing BJP work­ers was stopped by the po­lice and the ac­tivists got down from the bus and started hurl­ing stones to­wards the po­lice­men, Maiti said.

The po­lice­men were out­num­bered by the BJP work­ers and 12 po­lice per­son­nel, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional SP Thendup Sherpa, were in­jured.

JAL­PAIG­URI:

MOHD ZAKIR/HT

BJP chief Amit Shah de­ferred rally from Cooch Be­har.

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