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A day after the Jana Andolan Party activists protested against his visit in Kalimpong, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was on Thursday heckled, his party workers were roughed up and his meeting had to be aborted midway in hill town Darjeeling.
An angry Ghosh claimed that "goons were deployed" to disturb the meeting, and blamed the Binoy Tamang faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha for "roughing up" BJP activists. He also hinted that the instigation for the "attacks" could have come from "Kolkata" in an indication to the Mamata Banerjee government.
There were two incidents of protest against the BJP leader, who was first shown black flags and 'go back' posters by another hill-based outfit Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) on his way to Darjeeling.
Later, there were protests and demonstrations at the Bijoya Sammilani which he attanded in Darjeeling, forcing the organisers to cancel the function.
Television grab showed Ghosh being abused and heckled, BJP activists being beaten up amid shouts of "go back" on the road outside the function venue.
"Our meeting was attacked by goons who were drunk. Our people were beaten up. So we had to stop our meeting. On the road outside without any provocation, they chased our men and beat them up. Some of them (BJP activists) were bloodied. These are hired goons sent to create trouble. These are the same goons who have fomented unrest in the hills for three months," said Ghosh.
Asked who were behind the protests, Ghosh said: "They were saying Binoy Tamang zindabad... The incident may also have links to Kolkata."
"Everything was done in a planned manner so that I leave the place, and they have a free hand to increase their strength," said Ghosh, who later filed a police complaint.
He also alleged that his party did not receive any assistance from the administration. "The administration simply does not exist."
State Tourism Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Gautam Deb blamed Ghosh and his provocative comments during his ongoing tour to the hills for the incidents.
Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee accused Ghosh of trying to "trigger disturbances" in the hills by taking anti-socials with him, and asked the BJP leader why he had gone there without police protection.
"Their only aim is to continue the unrest in the hills. At a time when the people of the hills are trying to come out of the dark days of the shutdown, he went there with anti-socials to foment trouble.
"Now he is asking the police to rescue him. Why did he go without any security?
"We have faith in the administration. Trinamool Congress is keeping a watch on everything," said Chatterjee, also the state Education Minister.
On Ghosh's allegation that the Tamang faction of GJM was behind the attack, he replied: "I was not in the hills. How do I know? BJP is fully responsible for creating the unrest in the hills."
Earlier in the day, GNLF activists blocked Ghosh's convoy en route Darjeeling and agitated demanding the BJP make its stand clear on the Gorkhaland issue. However, he was able to reach Darjeeling after police intervened to remove the blockade.
Terming the agitation by their activists as a spontaneous outburst of angst and despair, the GNLF leadership demanded the BJP immediately initiate the tripartite talks on the issue.
"Now that the shutdown in the hills has been withdrawn and normalcy is returning to the hills, what is the use of their (BJP leaders) visit to Darjeeling? Where were they in the time of crisis when we needed them the most? Dilip Ghosh is anti-Gorkha and anti-Gorkhaland. We do not want these people here," GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimba told IANS.
"We want the BJP and the central government to make their stand clear. We want to know if it is possible for them to create Gorkhaland. If it is possible why don't they create it and if not, then why did they make such false promises during the previous election campaigns?" he said.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)