(Adding quotes by the chief secretary, changing slug) Kolkata, Oct 8 (PTI) The West Bengal government on Thursday said that BJP's 'March to Nabanna' (secretariat) was taken out without permission and was not within the permissible parameters of the Pandemic Act.
Thousands of BJP workers and activists had participated in the march to the secretariat to protest against the ''worsening law and order'' in the state.
State Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said the government had not given permission to the march as the applicants for it had on Wednesday evening said that several rallies would be taken out and that each would have around 25,000 participants.
'If several such rallies having such a large number of people had to be sanctioned/permitted/ allowed/or condoned that would be have been a travesty as per the National Disaster Management Authority Act or lockdown norms. If there had been few people it could have been navigable.
'But the application distinctly mentioned a number (of participants) which we had considered rather huge and overwhelmingly higher than the permissable dimension under the regime of epidemic that the Government of India instituted,' he said.
Parts of the city and adjacent Howrah resembled a battle zone on Thursday as BJP workers and supporters clashed with the police, hurled stones and blocked roads with burning tyres to protest a string of killings of saffron party workers.
This led to police personnel in riot gear to burst teargas shells, beat up the agitators and used water cannons to disperse those who took part in the protests that continued in the two cities for more than three hours.
Bandopadhyay praised the police for handling the situation 'patiently' though several of them were injured in attacks on them.
'Officers of Kolkata Police and state police did a commendable job to maintain peace by keeping their patience.
We thank them. There were instigations and there were attacks on the police in which some policemen were injured. Firearms are also seized,' he said.
Around 89 people were detained in Kolkata and 24 people were detained in Howrah, he said.
Queried about the 'blue water' sprayed from water cannons to disperse the BJP cadres during the march, the chief secretary said it was a colour used during Holi'.
'This is an international practice. Coloured water is used to disperse agitators so that they can be identified after dispersals for further necessary actions as per law if required,' he said.
Asked about the administration allowing the holding of a rally by the women's wing of the ruling Trinamool Congress in the city on the same day, Bandopadhyay said that the number of participants for BJP Yuva Morcha's march was higher than the 'allowable dimensions under the epidemic regime of the central government'. PTI SCH PNT KK KK