West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in the state of indulging in violence during protests against her government and said action will be taken against those creating nuisance.
“People were harassed and public properties vandalised and destroyed. You can’t have goons and bombs brought in, in the name of protests. Remember, police and fringe elements cannot go together. No anti-social activity will get any cover under the garb of politics, the police will take action if that happens,” Banerjee said.
Her remarks came after clashes broke out in several parts of the state as workers left for Kolkata to take part in Nabanna Abhiyan on Tuesday.
Banerjee also claimed that BJP had brought workers from other states for the protests. She also defended the police action against the protestors.
“The police officers could have fired in the air, but they were very measured in their response. This cannot happen, you cannot book trains and bring people from other states to create a nuisance in Bengal,” she added.
Banerjee said she was not against democratic protests. “Since they don’t have numbers, they resorted to bombs and goondaism to create violence. I have never stopped democratic protests, you work in a democratic way, and no one will stop you. But in the name of andolan (agitation), you can’t get bombs and break heads. I pray for those who were injured, and hope they get well soon.” Banerjee made the comments after addressing an administrative review meeting of Purba Medinipur.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kolkata Police detained Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari and MP Locket Chatterjee ahead of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) protest march to state secretariat ‘Nabanna’.
The BJP leaders were detained from Hastings in Kolkata when they were leading the Nabanna Chalo Abhiyan. Adhikari, Chatterjee and BJP leader Rahul Sinha were taken to Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar.
Before the detention, Adhikari said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had lost the support of people and turned West Bengal into North Korea.
“Chief Minister Mamata does not have the support of her people and so she is enforcing dictatorship, similar to North Korea in Bengal. Police will have to pay for what it is doing since Monday. BJP is coming,” Adhikari told to agencies.
Kolkata Police has put up heavy barricading at Hastings near the state government’s new Secretariat in Kolkata ahead of BJP’s Nabanna Chalo march.
Buses carrying BJP workers, on their way to Kolkata to participate in the Nabanna Chalo march, were stopped by the police in North 24 Parganas.
A clash also broke out between BJP workers and Police outside the Raniganj railway station as workers leave for Kolkata to take part in Nabanna Abhiyan on Tuesday. Police took many workers into preventive custody in Raniganj.