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Didi-BJP face-off: Water cannons greet saffron brigade in Kolkata (2nd Lead)

IANS  |  Kolkata 

Hundreds of activists on Wednesday marched towards the headquarters in Lalbazar, only to be stunted midway by the police who fired water cannons and lobbed shells to disperse the mob.

Amid heightened security arrangements, the saffron party workers, led by leaders such as Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dilip Ghosh, and senior Mukul Roy, started the "mega condemnation march" to

The protest march was organised against the alleged killing of workers and the breakdown of the law and order situation in the state.

A number saffron party leaders and activists, including state Raju Banerjee, took ill after shells landed near them.

The BJP claimed that 50 of their activists were arrested by the police before being released. The party also accused the of throttling their democratic protest.

"We were conducting the march peacefully but the police used water cannons on us and lobbed shells without any provocation. Mamata Banerjee is throttling the democratic space in Bengal. There is a complete breakdown of the law and order situation here," state BJP said.

"Many of our leaders have taken ill due to tear gas shelling. As many as 50 party workers were arrested by the police, who were released later. We are ending our protest programme for the day, but our agitation against the Mamata Banerjee-led government would continue," Ghosh added.

The police, however, said that five BJP Mahila Morcha (women's wing) members have been arrested.

"We cannot provide the exact figure yet. However, five women BJP supporters have been arrested for demonstrating outside where Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed," Javed Shamim, of Kolkata Police, told IANS.

The agitators started the rally from central at around 1.30 p.m. and broke a barricade in Ganesh Chandra Avenue, about 200 metre from the entry gate of The police fired two water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Parts of Central Avenue resembled a war zone with (RAF) personnel lobbying tear and resorting to minor lathi charge to stop the protesters from re-organising the rally.

Several BJP leaders and activists sat on the street to demonstrate against the police action.

"We will continue our protest in a peaceful manner. The streets of Kolkata do not belong to Mamata Banerjee alone. She cannot throttle a democratic movement by using her police force," state BJP said.

Vijayvargiya also condemned the role of Banerjee and said that the days of the were numbered.

"The police used brutal force to stop us from going to Lalbazar, but our workers acted in a disciplined and peaceful manner. I want to say that today the BJP has won, and the Trinamool has lost," BJP said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 12 2019. 18:44 IST