Lending a new dimension to the tussle between chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the saffron camp, Kolkata police has denied permission for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s January 14 rally in the city, prompting the Sangh to move Calcutta high court for approval.
Bhagwat is scheduled to address a rally and oversee a drill by swayamsevaks in their traditional attire on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
Earlier, RSS had taken permission for Bhukailash grounds in Kidderpore (west Kolkata) from the Bhukailash Trust that manages the ground, but the police turned it down. Thereafter, Sangh leaders obtained the nod of the army to conduct the rally on iconic Brigade Parade Grounds. But the police again refused permission.
“Ironically, while refusing permission for the Bhukailash grounds, police said it was too small for the crowd and may lead to law and order problems. When we applied for a meeting in the maidans (Brigade Parade Ground), the police turned down the plea on the basis that the ground is too big. Since Gangasagar pilgrims are also passing through Kolkata, it may be difficult for the police to sufficiently man the rally,” said Jishnu Basu, RSS secretary, south Bengal.
“On January 9, RSS filed a petition in Calcutta High Court seeking permission to hold the rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds. The matter is being heard by the single bench of justice Joymalya Bagchi,” said Biplab Roy, RSS spokesperson in Kolkata.
Incidentally, Kolkata Police had also denied permission to a rally by BJP chief Amit Shah on November 2, 2014. BJP eventually obtained permission from the court.
In December 2014, Bhagwat addressed a rally, organised by Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP), at the Parade Grounds. There he defended ‘Ghar Wapsi’ which caused a national stir.
“In Bengal, Hindus are at the receiving end. With recent incidents like Dhulagarh where tension between two communities ran high, Sangh is the only platform to speak for Hindus. The government is trying to muffle our voice,” alleged Basu.
Kolkata police refused to comment on the issue.
Bhagwat is scheduled to reach Kolkata on January 13 night. After the rally on January 14, Bhagwat will hold a series of meetings on January 15 with Sangh and BJP leaders.
According to sources, state Sangh and BJP leaders are awaiting his guidance at a time when the party is trying to spread its base in the state amid rising tension between communities.