Protests In Kolkata, BJP Demands Arrests In Attack On Party Chief

BJP supporters shouted slogans seeking "restoration of democracy" in the state and posters with the messages such as 'BJP go back' were also put up

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Protests In Kolkata, BJP Demands Arrests In Attack On Party Chief

The scuffle erupted when state party chief Dilip Ghosh arrived for a meeting in Darjeeling.

Kolkata:  The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) supporters today held rallies in south Kolkata to protest the attack on state party chief Dilip Ghosh in Darjeeling. They also demanded immediate arrest of the people involved. Effigies of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were burnt near her residence, according to news agency PTI. BJP supporters shouted slogans seeking "restoration of democracy" in the state and posters with the messages such as 'BJP go back' were also put up.

Mr Ghosh was heckled yesterday by a group of people who asked the saffron leaders visiting Darjeeling to leave immediately, leading to chaos and cancellation of a party meeting. Two persons were arrested today for their alleged involvement in the incident, police said.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung, in an audio message, condemned the attack. "Those behind the attack should be immediately arrested. Actually, those who are against a separate state of Gorkhaland have attacked the BJP delegation," Mr Gurung said.

The scuffle erupted when Mr Ghosh arrived at the venue for 'Vijaya Sammelani' with party workers. The agitators showed them black flags and allegedly beat up party workers. As Mr Ghosh tried to pacify them he was heckled following which he had to cancel the meeting. The attack was "pre-planned" and the "administration and police were mute spectators", he alleged.

"I was not given any security cover. I have lodged a police complaint about the incident," he said. 

Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaturvedi, however, said that the police were stationed outside the venue. A case has been registered and investigation is underway, he said. 

Criticising the turn of events, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said, "The BJP had gone there to foment trouble when peace was returning to the hills. Instead of taking police personnel along with him, he (Ghosh) had taken hired goons. If he doesn't ask for security then how can the police provide security cover?"

Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and minister Gautam Deb said the scuffle was an outburst of anger of the hill people against the sinister designs of the BJP.

However, Mr Ghosh alleged that these protests are fuelled and funded by the TMC. Except for the GJM and Bimal Gurung, all other hill parties are working on behalf of the TMC. Those who attacked BJP workers were supporters of expelled Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binay Tamang, he claimed.

(With inputs from PTI)

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