Hindu Jagran Manch members clash with police in Kolkata, BJP says no place for Hindus

(Eds: with additional inputs and pol parties reax) Kolkata, Dec 4 (PTI) A clash broke out between police and Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) activists after the latter took out a rally on Wednesday to protest against firing at a Rashtriya Sawamsevak Sangh (RSS) member in the city recently.

The HJM, an organisation affiliated to the RSS, took out a rally from Sealdah to Esplanade to protest against attack on sangh worker Bir Bahadur Singh in Metiabruz area of Kolkata.

Singh was shot at by unidentified miscreants on Monday last and was admitted at a city hospital.

A huge police contingent was present at the Sealdah station to stop the HJM march to Rani Rashmoni Avenue. The protestors forcible tried to break the barricades to proceed on the march following which police had to resort to baton charge to disperse them.

After being stopped near NRS Medical College and Hospital, BJP leader Anupam Hazra along with his supporters took out a separate rally at Rani Rashmoni area.

The police stopped Hazra and his supporters. Later on a scuffle took place between Hazra's security personnel- CPFs (central police forces)- and Kolkata police officials when the latter tried to detain Hazra.

Around 65 of them were arrested, a senior police official said.

A large number of police personnel, led by Deputy Commissioner (Central) Sudheer Kumar Neelakantam, were deployed to tackle the situation, he added.

The RSS West Bengal leadership criticised the police action and wondered why not a single culprit accused in shooting at Singh has yet been arrested.

'The police is quick to beat up Hindu Jagran Manch workers but it is more than 48 hours, not a single culprit accused in the case has been arrested,' a senior RSS leader said, adding Singh was an active member of the RSS and he was getting threats for running shakha in the area.

Reacting to the clash betweeen HJM and police, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that Hindus in Bengal even do not have the right to take out a rally.

'The Hindus in Bengal even don't have the right to take out a rally. This is completely unacceptable. RSS and BJP workers are being attacked and killed and we can't even protest democratically. Is this a sign of democracy or autocracy in Bengal?' Vijayvargiya asked.

The allegations were refuted by the TMC leadership, which supported the police action, saying BJP is trying to disturb the peace and stability of the state.

'The BJP is trying to disturb the peace and stability of the state. The people of Bengal will give them a befitting reply,' TMC secretray general Partha Chatterjee said.

RSS worker Bir Bahadur Singh was shot at in Garden Reach area of south-west Kolkata on Monday. Police are yet to identify those behind the attack.

Singh is presently admitted in a state-run hospital.

He was attacked by two bike-borne men around 10 am and was rushed to a hospital where he is undergoing treatment, police said. PTI SCH PNT SNS SNS SNS