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Bengal BJP chief vows Ram Navami rally with weapons despite Kolkata Police ban

Kolkata Police issued a public notification on December 20 last year banning the display of weapons in the city this year.

kolkata Updated: Jan 12, 2018 13:16 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
West Bengal,Weapons Ban,Kolkata Police
Hindu organisations took out a procession with bike and sword on the occasion of Ram Navami from Bhawanipore, South Kolkata area in Kolkata, India, on April 5, 2017.(Samir Jana/ Hindustan Times)

Chief of the West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party Dilip Ghosh on Friday vowed to carry out rallies on the Hindu festival of Ram Navami with weapons despite Kolkata Police’s order banning the display of arms in 2018 in a possible confrontation between the saffron camp and the ruling Trinamool Congress.

“We know that the police have banned armed processions this year. But we have asked our party workers to start preparations to march with weapons so that the dazzle of arms is visible from a distance,” Ghosh said at a gathering of party workers.

Kolkata Police issued a public notification on December 20 last year banning the display of weapons in the city this year.

“I asked the party workers whether they are ready to digest this ban on display of weapons. They said they won’t, and I asked them to prepare from now,” Ghosh said.

Ghosh described the Kolkata Police order as motivated and biased. He also alleged that it was prompted by the fear of the state government over the euphoria over Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti celebrations.

“We will wait and see whether this applies to Muharram as well,” Ghosh said.

This year Ram Navami will be celebrated on March 25 and the timing is crucial as the rural polls in Bengal, which are being seen as a rehearsal for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, are supposed to be held in April-May. Rama Navami marks the birthday of Lord Rama, believed to be the seventh incarnation of Vishnu.

Saffron camp workers staged a motorcycle rally in April last year in Kolkata’s Bhawanipore, the home turf of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, with swords and tridents. Rallies with weapons were also taken out in other areas of Bengal with senior BJP leaders including Ghosh taking part in them.

It triggered a major controversy in the state with the ruling party and a section of the intellectuals describing the move as “alien to Bengali culture”.

Ghosh supported brandishing of swords and tridents at Ram Navami rallies in 2017 and argued that it would help in uniting people against anti-national forces and appeasement politics.

According to the Bengal BJP chief, while the slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas”, Banerjee’s slogan is “Muslim Ka Sath, Trinamool Ka Vikas”.

Muslim organisations, however, welcomed the move by the city police.

Trinamool Congress secretary general and education minister Partha Chatterjee said that if there is any attempt by any political party to display weapons, the police have every right to prevent it to ensure the safety and security of people.

First Published: Jan 12, 2018 12:57 IST