Union minister Babul Supriyo said he was attacked by ruling Trinamool Congress supporters with brickbats on Wednesday during a visit to Asansol, his constituency in West Bengal.
The alleged incident occurred around 4:15pm when the singer-turned-politician was on his way to a police station to lodge a complaint against ruling party activists, who had allegedly assaulted BJP supporters staging a “peaceful demonstration” in front of the residence of state labour minister Malay Ghatak.
WATCH: Stone hurled at Union minister Babul Supriyo in Asansol, West Bengal pic.twitter.com/ecOG9os16t— ANI (@ANI_news) October 19, 2016
“I was hit by a brick when I emerged from the car to speak to the ruling party supporters. I was lucky to escape with a minor injury. The glass panes of my car were shattered,” the minister told the media.
“Trinamool supporters vandalised more than 10 motorbikes of our supporters. They also smashed and badly damaged five cars. Strangely, the police arrested 60 workers and leaders of the BJP who were at the receiving end of the Trinamool ire,” said Anjan Mukherjee, a BJP leader of the district.
Police officers and Malay Ghatak declined to comment for this story.
WATCH: Ruckus during Union Minister Babul Supriyo’s visit in Asansol, West Bengal pic.twitter.com/yCR8xHvftb— ANI (@ANI_news) October 19, 2016
After the incident, Supriyo went to Kolkata.
The genesis of the trouble can be traced to an incident on Tuesday afternoon, when Supriyo was proceeding towards the Asansol Rifle Club but was held up by about 40-50 cows blocking the road. The minister inquired and found out that the cows were brought from a rural cattle market at Lalganj and being taken to a nearby abattoir. The minister confronted the four people who were shepherding the cows and asked for documents.
Supriyo then asked the police to arrest the four. The police detained the cows but later released them after the men furnished documents related to the purchase.
To protest what they described as “police inaction”, a group of BJP supporters started protesting outside the residence of Malay Ghatak around 2 pm on Wednesday.
“Bones of cows are being burnt in the town, which is spreading pollution here,” said Supriyo on Wednesday after the clash.
The ruling party supporters descended on the BJP workers questioning their gall to carry their protest in front of the minister’s house.
BJP secretary Siddharth Nath Singh condemned the incident. “The Union Minister is under special police protection and goons of TMC can openly attack a protected VIP shows how callous is Bengal police,” he said. “Since 2016 assembly elections, TMC rattled by BJP’s double-digit vote share has adopted violence on BJP workers. More than 200 workers have BJP has been targeted in last few months. We condemn this anarchist action of TMC.”
A large contingent of police was deployed to bring the situation under control in Asansol.