BJP stopped from taking workers’ bodies to Kolkata

Kolkata: An altercation broke out between the police and a group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Sunday when they were stopped from taking bodies of slain party workers to Kolkata.

On Saturday, three people were killed in a clash between the Trinamool and BJP workers in the Hatgachi area of Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, over removal of BJP’s flags. The police confirmed three deaths, two from the BJP and one from the Trinamool Congress, in the clashes, though the two parties claim as many as eight deaths.

A BJP delegation visiting the area decided to take bodies of the two party workers to Kolkata for last rites. But the convoy was stopped thrice by the police, claiming it may cause law and order issues in Kolkata.

The BJP convoy, including two hearse vehicles, had bypassed the two police barricades near Sandeshkhali’s Malancha Crossing before being stopped at Minakhan.

The BJP leaders, including state party chief Dilip Ghosh and national secretary Rahul Sinha, argued with the police demanding the vehicles be allowed to go as the party workers shouted slogans, like Jai Sree Ram and BJP Zindabad.

“The family members of the deceased have decided to perform last rites in Kolkata. How can the police stop them? It is their duty to stop murderers and criminals and not the dead,” said Sinha.

“I have told them there will be no rallies in Kolkata. They (bodies) will just be kept at the BJP headquarters to let people pay their last respects. Still the police is stopping us,” he said.

BJP leader Locket Chatterjee accused the police of working for the Trinamool Congress. “This is unethical. The police cannot stop us legally. If needed we will carry the bodies to Kolkata on our shoulders,” she said.

The BJP claimed four of its workers were shot dead and several others were missing. The Trinamool Congress alleged its three workers were killed.

A TMC delegation, comprising state Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick and senior leaders Tapas Roy and Madan Mitra, visited the family of Kayum Mollah, one of the victim of clashes.

The BJP workers also blocked roads and held demonstrations in Bankura, Hoogly, Howrah, Midnapore, Malda, Barackpore, Naihati and North and South Kolkata. A number of BJP supporters were arrested while holding a protest near the party’s state headquarters in central Kolkata.