Four days after two boys were shot dead in clashes at West Bengal's Islampur, a BJP leader today compared police personnel with dogs and goaded people to take up arms against them.
"Tie police to the trees and beat them. Give water to dogs but not to policemen. Take a dead dog to the hospital but not the kith and kin of policemen if they are injured in an accident," North Dinajpur party chief Shankar Chakrabarty said at a public meeting. Police arrested him within hours of the controversial speech.
"We watched a BJP leader on television instigate the public, telling them to hang policemen from trees -- murder them. You can't say anything you want in a democracy just because you have a mike in hand. He is provoking the public to start riots, and that is something we cannot tolerate," said Anuj Sharma, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), West Bengal.
Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim slammed the BJP after Mr Chakrabarty's speech, calling it a "barbaric party".
Police have denied shooting the two youth, but the villagers of Islampur are not convinced. They want a CBI probe into the incident.
West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh alleged that Trinamool leaders who make disparaging remarks against the police are never arrested. The police's act of arresting Mr Chakrabarty has only added fuel to a fire that's already raging, he warned.
The Islampur administration has deployed police personnel in large numbers to ensure that no untoward incident occurs on Wednesday, when the BJP has called a 12-hour bandh to protest the deaths.
The students' agitation had erupted on September 20 over the Darivit High School authorities appointing two new teachers -- one for Urdu and another for Sanskrit -- allegedly ignoring demands by students for teachers in subjects like history, geography, science and math.
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