A division bench of the Calcutta high court has overturned the ruling of a single bench that had accepted the TMC government's argument that the BJP's rallies would create a law-and-order situation in Bengal
Kolkata/New Delhi: While the Mamata Banerjee government had successfully convinced a single bench of the Calcutta high court, on the basis of a 15-page 'intelligence report', that the BJP 's much-anticipated rath yatra may cause violence, the division bench of the court was not impressed. On Friday, the court asked top Bengal government babus to hold a meeting with three BJP representatives to sort out the route and logistics of the rath yatras. With a shot in the arm, BJP national president Amit Shah told the chief minister through a press conference in Delhi on Friday, 'Rok sako toh rok lo' (Stop us if you can).
'Astonishing and astounding'
Besides, the bench has modified a portion of the single-judge bench order that had imposed an injunction on the yatra till January 9. If that wasn't embarrassment enough for the ruling TMC, the court came down heavily on the Banerjee government for not responding to letters of the BJP seeking permission for the rath yatras. It took exception to the silence of the state government over issuing the requisite permission, calling it “astonishing and astounding", something the BJP has now clutched upon to exploit politically.
Mamata didi’s attempts to deny the BJP its legitimate right to undertake political campaign in the state to expose TMC’ misgovernance has been thwarted by Court, which has asked Bengal admin to cooperate. Big win for democracy! BJP will soon set out on its Gantantra Bachao Yatra.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 7, 2018
The chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police will have to hold a meeting with a three-member BJP delegation on December 12, directed the division bench. The court is clear in its view that rallies can happen but peacefully. The BJP has not been allowed to hold any yatra before the meeting. The meeting, as directed by the court, is to work out ways and means to decide the routes, the people involved, etc.
The division bench also criticised the single bench verdict that blocked the rally. "The order passed by the single bench is a grave error of law. I propose to modify the order of the Single Bench,” said Justice Samaddar. The division bench observed that the postponement of the yatra to January 9 would effectively mean that two-thirds of over a month-long time frame for multiple rallies would be over.
The BJP claimed that it had first sent a letter to the state government on October 29. On November 5, 12 and 20, reminders were sent to the home secretary. The BJP also claimed it had sent letters seeking permission for rallies to the director general of police on November 14, 20 and 23.
BJP Bengal sent its first letter seeking permission for the Yatra to Home Secretary of Bengal on 29Oct2018, follow up letters on 05, 12 & 20 Nov 2018. Letters to Bengal DGP sent on 14, 20 & 23 Nov. Letters to 7 police commisionerates sent on 14 Nov. NO RESPONSE. #MamataFearsBJP— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) December 7, 2018
The state BJP has described Friday’s court order as “a major victory”.
On Friday, the BJP held rallies in parts of Bengal, protesting the alleged attack on the party’s state president Dilip Ghosh a couple of days ago. As MyNation had reported first, Ghosh's car and the accompanying cavalcade were attacked by suspected TMC cadre in the presence of cops while the convoy was passing through Coochbehar.
There were processions in Kolkata, Birbhum, Durgapur, North 24 Parganas and Hooghly districts in south Bengal and Cooch Behar in north Bengal. There were reports of a TMC-BJP fight in Jalpaiguri district in the northern part of Bengal. The scuffle left 12 policemen including additional superintendent of police Thendup Sherpa injured.
Dilip Ghosh alleged that the administration and ruling TMC workers had obstructed the BJP workers from coming to Coochbehar to attend the rally. Meanwhile, Shah announced on Friday, "Let Mamata Banerjee stop us. People are angry. And if you try to stop us, they will get angrier."
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Last Updated Dec 8, 2018, 2:21 PM IST