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Police could have fired, but maintained restraint, says Mamata targetting BJP for violence

West Bengal Chief Minister slams the violence at Kolkata and Howrah

September 14, 2022 05:47 pm | Updated 10:10 pm IST - Kolkata

BJP supporters clashed with police during the party’s march to the State Secretariat ‘Nabanna’ Building. Several BJP supporters and police personnel sustained injuries in Kolkata, West Bengal on Tuesday.

BJP supporters clashed with police during the party’s march to the State Secretariat ‘Nabanna’ Building. Several BJP supporters and police personnel sustained injuries in Kolkata, West Bengal on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: Debasish Bhaduri

A day after violence erupted in Kolkata and Howrah during Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) march to the State Secretariat, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that police could have fired on protesters but exercised restraint.

“They have destroyed everything. People were harassed. Yes police could have fired, but that is not desirable. Police remained restrained and tried to manage [the situation]… But this cannot be allowed because they will bring people from outside in trains and vandalise. A number of police personnel were injured yesterday,” the Chief Minister said during an administrative meeting at Nimtouri in Purba Medinipur district.

The Chief Minister said that she has nothing against democratic and peaceful protests. “The BJP and its supporters resorted to violence, vandalism and arson….We won’t allow this. Arrests are being made, and law will take its own course,” Ms. Banerjee said.

A number of BJP leaders attacked the West Bengal government over yesterday’s violence. Former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference in Delhi and said that West Bengal under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee has become a “lawless and bankrupt State”. He also accused the Chief Minister of transgressing limits of constitutional governance. Responding to the remarks of the BJP leader, Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said that Mr. Prasad should read the Constitution and make his party persons read that too.

‘Shoot at sight’

The Kolkata Police have registered seven FIRs for unlawful assembly, violating section 144 CrPC, rioting, attacking cops and torching the police van in connection with the violence on Tuesday. At least 15 persons have been arrested including three for attack on an assistant commissioner and for torching the police van.

Mr. Banerjee also met the injured assistant commissioner of Kolkata Police Debajit Chattopadhyay who suffered injuries in the violence on Tuesday.  Videos of the police officer being assaulted by BJP supporters have also surfaced in the public domain.

Speaking to journalists after meeting the injured police officer, Mr. Banerjee said. “I salute him [the police officer]. Had I been in his place and a police van was set on fire before my eyes, I should have shot them here,” the Trinamool leader said pointing at his forehead. The remarks by the Trinamool leader evoked strong reactions. State BJP president said Mr. Banerjee was instigating the police and was trying to make them “trigger happy”.

During the day, Kolkata Mayor and Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim met BJP councilor Meena Devi Purohit, who sustained injuries while participating in the party’s rally on Tuesday. State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar also spoke to the injured police officer over telephone and condemned the attack on police personnel.

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