Major shutdown in Kolkata as clashes erupted between the West Bengal Police and BJP workers as the members tried to break through barricades during their 'Nabanna Chalo' march against CM Mamata Banerjee-led govt, marching towards state secretariat on Thursday, Oct 8.
Thousands of BJP workers from Kolkata and Howrah began marching towards Nabanna to protest the "worsening" law and order in the state on Thursday afternoon.
The Bengal police, however, blocked the march and the police personnel resorted to lathi-charge, used tear gas and water cannons on BJP workers at Santragachi in Howrah district. BJP workers also set ablaze tires in Howrah during party's state-wide 'Nabanna Chalo' agitation against the alleged killings of its workers.
"We are protesting democratically, but Mamata Ji has tried to turn our peaceful demonstration into a violent protest. Goons along with police pelted stones at us," BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya in Kolkata
"All workers are wearing masks. Are rules only for us? Mamata Ji holds demonstrations with thousands, & we're being taught lessons of social distancing. Do the same rules not apply to her?", questions of party workers during 'Chalo Nabanna' protest.
Nabanna Chalo protest: What is the on-ground situation in West Bengal?
The protest march started at 12 noon from four different points -- state BJP's headquarters on the Central Avenue, Hastings, Howrah Maidan and Santragachi.
The BJP leadership in the state has claimed that the march would comprise over a few lakhs of saffron supporters. People were expected to arrive from various districts and assemble at the four starting points.
The "Nabanna Abhiyan" has been called by the BJP Yuva Morcha, the youth arm of the party. BJP youth arm activists staged a protest programme near Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's residence at Kalighat earlier in the day chanting 'Jai Shree Ram' slogans.
BJP supporters were also stopped at Dankuni in Kolkata's neighbouring Hooghly district. The police had to resort to mild baton charge to disperse the gathering. The protest march is part of the BJP's strategy and final push against the ruling Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, as the state assembly election is due in April-May next year.
The Mamata Banerjee-led state government on Wednesday though announced that the building will remain shut for two days, on October 8 and 9, "for Covid-19 sanitization drive" .
(With inputs from wires)