Kolkata: More than 60 BJP workers, including senior party leaders, received multiple injuries after Kolkata Police on Wednesday lathi charged protesters and used water cannons and tear gas to disperse them from agitating in front of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters against spurt in dengue deaths in the city.
The BJP accused the Trinamool Congress government of trying to "hush up" the figures. The protest march, convened by BJP Yuva Morcha, was taken out from Central Avenue in the city and is scheduled to culminate at Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters, with the gherao of the civic office.
"The state government has been deliberately trying to hush up the figures (of those killed and affected). The government and the KMC are more keen on hiding the actual numbers rather than taking steps to tackle the menace," state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who led the rally, told reporters.
The city police set up barricades on the Central Avenue (nearly 1km away from the KMC headquarters) and imposed section 144 CrPC in and around the area. However, the BJP workers were adamant and clashed with the police while attempting to break the barricade. In response, the Kolkata police used water canons to disperse the gathering.
The saffron party said it wanted to submit a deputation to Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim regarding the dengue menace and, if stopped, the party would resort to a sit-in demonstration.
“We were peacefully marching towards KMC headquarters but suddenly we were stopped at Central Avenue. We requested the police to allow us but they refused. In the meantime, they unnecessarily used water canon on our workers. Several party workers including BJP Yuva Morcha Debjit Sarkar were injured in police action,” Ghosh said.
He said, “We were protesting against the rising number of dengue deaths in the city as the ruling government is appears indifferent to it. We condemn today’s police action against our party workers. While the people are scared due to the spreading of dengue in the city, the Kolkata Mayor is giving lecture. BJYM wokers were beaten mercilessly because the ruling government under Mamata Banerjee want to suppress the fact that 44,000 people suffered from dengue in the city.”
Nearly 35 BJP supporters, including 12 female workers, were arrested by the police for violating the law and order situation in the city.
As many as 44,852 dengue cases were reported from Kolkata and its adjoining areas, a report of the state health department has revealed. As per a government official, 25 people have died of dengue in the state since January.