Batons, water cannon at BJP’s Kolkata protest over spurt in dengue cases
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers clashed with police in central Kolkata on Thursday afternoon during a protest over the spurt in dengue cases.
The protesters blamed the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for increase in dengue cases and were marching towards its headquarters in central Kolkata. The police used batons and water cannon to stop them.
Organised by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the rally was led by Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh. Several leaders, including BJP state general secretary Raju Banerjee and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) state president Debjit Sarkar, were arrested.
Sarkar said four BJP youth workers were injured in the police action. “The attack was unprovoked. This was a peaceful demonstration. At least 45,000 people have been affected by dengue so far but the official figure is far less,” he said.
The rally, planned to highlight the outbreak of dengue in Kolkata and neighbouring districts, was attended by over 2,000 BJP and BJYM workers. A colourful tableau with gigantic models of mosquitoes was also used by protesters.
“The government is suppressing facts about the dengue menace. Hiding truth will not solve the problem. The state government should take the Centre’s help because people are living in fear,” Ghosh said. He was taken away to safety by party workers during the chaos.
“When even a small democratic movement like this is stopped with lathis and water cannon it becomes apparent that the government has become shaky. They stopped us even before we covered half of the route,” said Ghosh after the situation returned to normal.
No reaction was available from the government till 3.30 pm.
BJP’s rally on Thursday is seen as a significant move because civic body elections in Bengal are scheduled in the next few months.