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India

Kolkata Sees Widespread Violence, Arson During BJP’s ‘Nabanna Chalo’ Protest

BJP agitators brought in by special trains for a protest march to the Bengal secretariat turned violent when they found roads leading to the state’s seat of power barricaded by riot police.

Kolkata
Firefighters try to douse a fire set in a police vehicle by some miscreants near Nakhoda Mosque in Kolkata, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Kolkata witnessed widespread violence and arson on Tuesday when the BJP took out its ‘Nabanna Chalo’ protest march against the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal. The area outside the iconic Howrah Station, built in the 19th century, saw violent clashes between the BJP workers and the police.

While brickbats were being thrown in the direction of police officers, the demonstrators were being doused by water cannons as they tried to flee to the safety of nearby alleyways and businesses.

Unprecedented violence broke out on roads near the Howrah Station when the BJP protesters discovered that riot police had blocked the highways leading to the state’s seat of authority, ‘Nabanna’. BJP activists, who had been brought in by special trains for the protest march to the Bengal secretariat, resorted to vandalism and arson.

Kolkata BJP Protest
A police vehicle set on fire by some miscreants near Nakhoda Mosque in Kolkata, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (PTI Photo)

According to a protester, Dilip Biswas, 34, who had arrived in Kolkata on a special train from Andal police burst tear gas shells and lathicharged them. “I never realised the protest march would turn into such a fierce combat… The police were relentless, while those in the crowd besides me were equally violent. I don’t know who started throwing stones at the police, but after two officers went down like nine pins, they started firing water cannons, burst tear gas shells and lathicharged us,” PTI quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, the protesters hurled glass bottles at police personnel, while some of them were seen lifting tree logs to chase security forces away. Several people on both sides were reportedly injured in the violence.

BJP Kolkata
Security personnel attempt to disperse BJP supporters from the Howrah Bridge during their ‘Nabanna Abhijan’ (March to Secretariat) to protest against alleged corrupt practices of TMC government, in Kolkata, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (PTI Photo)

A number of BJP leaders, who took part in the rally, were detained by police along with their supporters. Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee and other leaders were later released on personal bond from Lalbazar, the Kolkata Police headquarters, in the evening.

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, party leader Agnimitra Paul and hundreds of activists staged a sit-in at Howrah Maidan, after police stopped them from proceeding towards ‘Nabanna’ (state secretariat).

The saffron camp has been taking out rallies across West Bengal for the past couple of days, asking party workers to assemble outside the secretariat to protest against the TMC regime’s alleged corrupt practices.

(With PTI inputs)