“March to Nabanna” protest organised by the West Bengal BJP’s Yuva Morcha has taken a violent turn. The party workers hurled bombs and pelted stones at the policemen in Kolkata’s Howrah. The police retaliated with water cannons and fired tear gas shells. The police previously lathi-charged the workers, to disperse the crowd. Gathering of more than 100 people was not allowed by the government but at least 50,000 people joined the march.
The youth wing of the party had launched a march to Nabanna from four areas as a protest against the alleged killing of its party worker, Manish Shukla. The newly-appointed BJYM president Tejasvi Surya also joined the protest at Howrah.
The state vice-president Raju Banerjee was injured in the clash along with other BJP workers. The party workers set tyres on fire as a mark of protest. Several party leaders including Arjun Singh, Locket Chatterjee, Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya (who demanded CBI probe into the death of BJP Councillor Manish Shukla) were also part of the rally.
“Party workers hurled bombs at policemen as well as bricks and stones. We had to ensure law and order is maintained,” a senior officer of Howrah Police said. A few arms were also seized from one of the protestors in the Howrah Maidan area.
Earlier, the government had announced that Nabanna will be shut for two days from October 8 for sanitisation purpose. The West Bengal government cited the Coronavirus pandemic as a reason to deny permission for the major gathering, saying peaceful and democratic rallies within “permissible parameters” of only 100 people would be allowed.
On October 4, Bharatiya Janata Party councillor Manish Shukla was allegedly shot dead in Titagarh of North 24 Parganas district. The next day West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar summoned top officials of the Mamata Banerjee government to the Raj Bhavan.
West Bengal unit of BJP has accused All India Trinamool Congress of killing Shukla and demanded a CBI probe into the matter. A Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe has been set up which has made a total of three arrests since Tuesday in connection with the case.