Police attacked at BJP procession in South Dinajpur's Gangarampur
Gangarampur in South Dinajpur district turned into a battlefield on Saturday when police were attacked by hundreds of BJP supporters who tried to take out a procession by violating prohibitory orders.
Police sub-inspector Bibhu Bhattacharya suffered injuries on the head and women civic volunteers were beaten with bamboo sticks.
The skirmishes took place when Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh tried to lead an “Abhinandan Yatra” (thanksgiving rally). The BJP has lined up such marches in all 18 Lok Sabha constituencies which the party won in the state.
The police had declared prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC to stop the assembly of people in Buniadpur and Gangarampur in the morning. Both the places are in South Dinajpur district and the Balurghat Lok Sabha segment Around 11am, Ghosh reached Buniadpur from Raiganj and led the Abhinandan Yatra in defiance of the prohibitory orders. When Ghosh reached Chowringhee More in Gangarampur at noon, police tried to stop him.
“The police tried to reason with Ghosh but a section of BJP supporters shouted and accused us of playing a partisan role. Some people from the crowd pelted stones at us. They also attacked us with sticks and ransacked our vehicles,” said a police source.
Among the injured were Gangarampur police sub-inspector Bibhu Bhattacharya and five-six other policemen When the police resorted to a baton charge and burst teargas, the attackers dispersed. But soon, another group launched an assault on the police and civic volunteers from under a bridge.
“Women civic volunteers were hit with bamboo sticks. At least two women suffered injuries and one of them had a fracture in the leg. They were all admitted to hospital,” said the police source.
Reinforcements arrived and traffic came to a halt on the road to Balurghat.
Asked about the incident, Ghosh said: “There is no reason for the police to stop our victory rally. We have just tried to thank people of Gangarampur for voting us. The police had a plan to foil our programme. Around 20 BJP workers suffered injuries when miscreants attacked the march. The police also attacked us.”
South Dinajpur district superintendent of police Prasun Banerjee said: “Three of our personnel were injured. The attackers have also damaged four police vehicles. We are conducting raids to catch them. So far, 10 pople have been arrested.”
The SP also reached Gangarampur.
The fact that there would be trouble over the proposed rallies became clear on Thursday when chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she had issued instructions to the police to act sternly against any party trying to organise victory marches. The chief minister also accused the BJP of trying to foment tension and spreading violence through their celebratory rallies.
“The chief minister cannot digest our victory and is using the administration to prevent us from thanking people. We will not bow down to her diktats,” Ghosh said on Saturday morning.
On Friday, Ghosh himself had led a victory march in Raiganj in North Dinajpur, defying the administrative order. A similar march was held in Kaliaganj in the same district.
Even though the police and the administration had cancelled the permission to hold the rallies on Friday, no attempt was made to stop the processions.
Arpita Ghosh, the former MP and district Trinamul chief of South Dinajpur, trained guns at the state BJP president for the trouble at Gangarampur.
“He always makes false comments and his intention is to create tension in the state. Despite prohibitory orders, he held the rally and attacked the police,” she said.
Later in the afternoon, situation started limping back to normal in Gangarampur. There was heavy deployment of police in different parts of the district.