BJP workers today clashed with the police at different places across the city during their march to the police headquarters demanding arrest of ‘corrupt’ TMC leaders, prompting the force to use teargas shells, water canons and batons to disperse them.
Over 20 police personnel were injured in the violence and 141 BJP workers arrested including 21 who tried to enter the city police headquarters, Supratim Sarkar joint Commissioner of Police (HQ) said.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, state chief Dilip Ghosh, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, party Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly and state secretary Locket Chatterjee were among those arrested during the protest-agitation, he said.
“Cases in non-bailable sections will be filed against those BJP leaders found instigating violence,” the joint CP said.
He said that BJP workers threw petrol bombs and stones at the police near the office of the Tea Board on Brabourne road without any provocation.
The BJP activists also attacked the police from their party headquarters in central Kolkata and nearby Phears lane, he said, adding that more than three police vehicles were either set on fire or damaged by the protesters.
To a question, the joint CP said that according to their report over 50 BJP activists were left injured.
Several parts of the city witnessed pitched battles as BJP workers tried to break through barricades with the police adopting strong arm method to disperse them, two days after similar scenes were witnessed during a Left-sponsored rally.
The agitators, led by Ghosh, marched towards the city police headquarters at Lalbazar in the central part of the city, but were stopped by the security force on Brabourne road near their destination.
The protestors then tried to break the barricades put up on the road.
On nearby Phears Lane, the police resorted to a baton charge to disperse BJP activists led by Vijayvargiya as they too tried to break barricades put up there.
Bentinck street, close to the Lalbazar headquarters, also saw violence unfold as the agitators hurled stones and glass bottles at the police and got lathi charged by them.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha and MP Roopa Ganguly led the march in the Bentinck street area.
A BJP delegation met Governor K N Tripathi to apprise him of the police action against the partymen during the programme.
After meeting the Governor, BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya alleged that the police along with TMC activists had beaten up his partymen.
“The police had even entered the BJP office and beaten up the party workers which was unprecedented”, he alleged and claimed nearly 200 BJP men were injured in police action.
He also dismissed the allegation that police vehicles were damaged by BJP workers.
A huge police contingent was deployed at different points across the metropolis in view of the BJP’s programme.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha demanded a judicial inquiry into the police action against them.
BJP MP Roopa Ganguly said that they wanted to go to the police headquarters to submit a deputation demanding arrest of ‘corrupt’ TMC leaders and over alleged ‘lawlessnesses’ in the state.
“Why was such a huge police deployment made to stop us?” she wanted to know.
Some passengers of the Metro Rail complained that the police entered the underground Central Station and beat them up. A senior Metro Railway officer said their complaints would be looked into.
Mediapersons covering the agitation were given yellow jackets to wear by the police. This was to identify them easily so that the incidents of May 22, in which journalists were beaten up by the law-enforcers during the left-sponsored march to state secretariat, would not recur.