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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

Poll violence in Bengal: Suvendu Adhikari proffers BJP's protest site options

Moving the plea for allowing the party to hold the programme in front of the Raj Bhavan gate, the BJP had pointed out that the ruling Trinamool last October could stage its sit-in demonstration at the same place, and the police should not discriminate between the two political parties

Tapas Ghosh Calcutta Published 22.06.24, 07:40 AM
Suvendu Adhikari.

Suvendu Adhikari. PTI file picture

Suvendu Adhikari’s lawyer informed Calcutta High Court on Friday that the BJP state unit was willing to conduct its sit-in demonstration in front of either the state secretariat Nabanna, or the state police headquarters Bhabani Bhavan, instead of the gubernatorial residence Raj Bhavan.

Two days ago, Justice Amrita Sinha of the high court had disallowed the BJP to hold its event in front of Raj Bhavan, as the area was under prohibitive orders of Section 144 of the CrPC, and had asked Adhikari to suggest alternatives for his proposed programme with the “victims” of post-poll “violence” in Bengal.

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On Friday, moving on behalf of Adhikari, advocate Billwadal Bhattacharyya informed the bench that the party was willing to consider Nabanna or Bhabani Bhavan as alternatives.

Justice Sinha decided to hear the plea next Tuesday.

Moving the plea for allowing the party to hold the programme in front of the Raj Bhavan gate, the BJP had pointed out that the ruling Trinamool last October could stage its sit-in demonstration at the same place, and the police should not discriminate between the two political parties.

At this, Justice Sinha held that the rallies and sit-in demonstrations should not be allowed in prohibited areas, and directed the state to file an affidavit stating on what grounds it had allowed Trinamool to hold the programme there. The state would have to file that affidavit before Tuesday.

On Friday, Justice Sinha also conditionally allowed Vivek Jyoti, an NGO, to hold its rally in the city on Saturday to protest against the “ongoing violence” in Bengal since the Lok Sabha polls. No more than 300 people would be allowed to participate in the proposed rally, starting from Wellington Square and ending on Rani Rashmoni Avenue at Esplanade.

The judge also said that there should be no provocation from the rally, which might cause law and order problems.

“My client body is a national social organisation, which organises people against violence. The objective of the rally is to bring peace in Bengal. Politicians and their followers should take the responsibility of maintaining peace,” said the lawyer appearing for Vivek Jyoti, adding that Calcutta police had declined to allow the organisers to hold the rally in the city.

The lawyer appearing for the state argued that any type of inflammatory rally or meeting could create law and order problems.

After hearing both sides, the judge issued the order.

Also on Friday, the BJP’s Adhikari moved another petition before high court, alleging that in the past 15 days, fake FIRs were lodged against 47 workers of his party in Nandigram. In his petition, Adhikari also claimed that the police were unnecessarily harassing his party workers on the basis of those FIRs and demanded they be quashed. This case will be heard next Wednesday.

The high court on Friday also directed the state government to take steps to ensure that people displaced because of the alleged post-poll violence could return home. The court directed police to maintain stern vigil in areas where violence allegedly erupted and ensure they were averted.

The directive was issued by a division bench headed by Justice Harish Tandon which heard petitions on violence allegations since the general election. The division bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, directed the petitions to be heard next Wednesday.

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