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Police halt BJP MPs’ visit in Malda

The MPs had been told not to visit Harishchandrapur to prevent fresh tension by anti-Citizenship Act protesters

By TT Bureau in Malda and Murshidabad
  • Published 19.12.19, 4:00 AM
  • Updated 19.12.19, 4:00 AM
  • a min read
(From left) BJP MPs Pramanik and Murmu sit on the road in Malda on Wednesday. Picture by Soumya De Sarkar

Police arrested BJP MPs Nishith Pramanik and Khagen Murmu in Malda on Wednesday when the duo were on their way to Harishchandrapur to assess the destruction of railway properties by alleged anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters.

Alok Rajoria, the Malda district police chief, said the arrests were “preventive”. Later, the MPs were released on personal bonds.

BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had to cancel his visit to some villages under Suti and Samserganj police stations in Murshidabad district on Wednesday after alleged Trinamul Congress supporters had raised roadblocks at different places.

The MPs arrived in Malda, along with state BJP leader Rathin Bose and district office-bearers of the party.

“We wanted to go to Harishchandrapur to know common people’s opinion on the NRC and the CAA. A couple of railway stations in Harishchandrapur were vandalised.

Despite prior intimation to police, we were stopped on the way and arrested,” said Pramanik, the Cooch Behar MP.

He, Murmu, Bose and district BJP president Gobinda Mandal sat on NH34 near Sukanta More in Malda as a large contingent of police prevented their journey.

The police asked the BJP leaders and workers to vacate the highway to regularise traffic. “They refused to clear the road and so, we arrested and took them to Englishbazar police station,” said a police officer.

The SP said the MPs had been told not to visit Harishchandrapur to prevent fresh tension.

Vijayvargiya, who reached Panchgram of Murshidabad from Birbhum by road around 1pm, could not move because of a blockade. His motorcade then took a bypass and headed for Nabagram.

He could hardly cover 6km because of another blockade by alleged Trinamul supporters. They wielded black flags and shouted “go back” slogans at Vijayvargiya.

As blockades were raised on NH12 at places like Ratanpur and Moregram, hundreds of trucks and other vehicles were left stranded. Around 5pm, Vijayvargiya left for Calcutta via Birbhum.

“There is no democracy in Bengal. People are not secure here. I wanted to visit some affected areas but I was stopped by Trinamul supporters and police,” Vijayvargiya said.