‘Police could’ve fired bullets but…': TMC's Abhishek Banerjee on Kolkata clashes

Updated on Sep 14, 2022 09:32 PM IST

More than 20 people have been arrested in specific cases of assault on police officers and destruction of government property in Kolkata and Howrah during the BJP's ‘Nabanna Cholo’ march. The saffron camp, however, has maintained their stance that none of their workers were involved in violence.

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee interacts with Debjit Chatterjee, an assistant commissioner of Kolkata Police, who got injured during BJP's 'Nabanna Abhijan' protest march, at SSKM hospital in Kolkata, on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. (PTI Photo)
TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee interacts with Debjit Chatterjee, an assistant commissioner of Kolkata Police, who got injured during BJP's 'Nabanna Abhijan' protest march, at SSKM hospital in Kolkata, on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. (PTI Photo)
By, New Delhi

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and party's general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Wednesday lashed out at the state's opposition - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - over the latter's ‘Nabanna Cholo Abhijan’ that saw massive protests unfold in Kolkata the day before. Talking about attacks on police officers, Abhishek said that in the name of the march, the saffron unit did “hooliganism” in the same way they “demolished Vidyasagar's statue in 2019”.

Abhishek made the statement after visiting Debjit Chatterjee, an assistant commissioner of Kolkata Police, at the SSKM hospital earlier in the day. Chatterjee suffered multiple fracture in his right arm when he was assaulted with sticks while trying to run away from a mob. The entire incident was caught on camera.

The TMC MP further stated that everyone has a right to protest but not resort to hooliganism. Abhishek said police could have fired bullets, but instead they only used teargas and water cannons at protestors. "They (cops) chose to show restraint so that common people do not suffer,” Abhishek was quoted as saying by ANI.

The TMC's Twitter account also shared a short video clip of the party MP meeting Chatterjee at the hospital.

Scenes of war zone emerged from Kolkata on Tuesday after thousands of BJP supporters took to the streets to protest the corruption by the ruling TMC government. Police officers were thrashed, stones were pelted on them, and a police vehicle was torched. Many BJP leaders, including Locket Chatterjee, Suvendu Adhikari and the party's Bengal chief Sukanta Majumdar, were detained on their way to Santragachi.

Over 20 people have so far been arrested in specific cases of assault on police officers and destruction of government property in the Bengal capital and Howrah during the ‘Nabanna Cholo’ march.

As many as 37 police personnel, including some senior officers, sustained injuries on Tuesday.

The BJP, however, has denied all allegations saying no party worker was involved in the violence. The TMC and the saffron camp has been involved in a back-and-forth since yesterday with both parties blaming each other for the mayhem.

Earlier today, Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee alleged that BJP workers who clashed with police on Tuesday were armed with guns and bombs. She reiterated her nephew Abhishek about police refraining from opening fire, and that everyone has the right to “hold democratic movements but hooliganism cannot be a part of it”.

“People were brought in trains from Bihar and other places to create trouble,” Banerjee added.

The matter led to Calcutta high court to step in as it sought a report from the Bengal home secretary by September 19. The court also directed Kolkata Police not to “illegally” detain anyone and make sure there was no damage to public property.

The BJP announced its ‘Nabanna Cholo’ programme in August. At 1pm on Tuesday, three groups of the BJP workers started marching to the state secretariat — one led by Suvendu and Locket from Kolkata, a second led by Dilip Ghosh from Howrah and a third by Sukanta Majumdar and Jagannath Chatterjee, also from Howrah. But within minutes, all three processions found their road blocked by the police and barricades, leading to clashes.

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    A journalist with 7+ years of experience, I pretty much inhale and exhale news – figuratively speaking. Cooking, reading and playing with my dog take up the remaining hours of my normal day. I have an inclination for true crime stories, and love listening to such podcasts.

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