Kolkata: Tension soared in West Bengal's Howrah district on Thursday after the police stopped Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers from performing 'Bharat Mata Puja' on the occasion of Independence Day.
The saffron party had organised a number of 'Bharat Mata Pujas' across Kolkata and other districts of the state on Wednesday and Thursday to mark the 73rd Independence Day, in which senior leaders of the party's state unit took part.
According to the BJP, the police denied permission to hold the puja in Howrah's Sibpur area and also detained one of their party workers when he protested.
"They did not give us permission to hold the puja in Sibpur. It is a matter of shame if we have to repeatedly seek permission to worship our country on the occasion of Independence Day. Bengal's police is working on the behest of Trinamool Congress. They can give permission for Namaz on the streets but can't allow Bharat Mata Puja," BJP's Howrah (rural) district President Anupam Mallik told IANS.
The police claimed that the puja was disallowed as it was organised on a congested road and no prior permission was sought for the same.
Meanwhile, the saffron party's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) accused Trinamool Congress-backed miscreants of vandalising an idol of Bharat Mata near Howrah's Kona Expressway on Wednesday night.
"Some TMC-backed miscreants vandalised the idol in the dark of night. Such fringe elements have no respect even for their motherland. As a result, the puja also had to be stopped. A complaint has been lodged in the Liluah police station, but the police have not arrested any of the miscreants yet," Mallik alleged.