Kolkata book fair: Left supporters, VHP members scuffle over anti-CAA protest

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Police take away a protester at the Kolkata book fair in Salt Lake on Saturday. (Express photo/Partha Paul)

A scuffle between Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members and anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protesters took place at the Kolkata Book Fair in Salt Lake on Saturday. Following this, the protesters accused the police of assaulting them without any provocation. However, police have denied this allegation of assault but said that they have detained a few protesters.

According to police, when BJP leader Rahul Sinha visited VHP’s stall No. 370, anti-CAA protesters from several Left parties surrounded him and raised slogans against National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). A scuffle started between them and VHP members.

The BJP claimed that one of their supporters suffered injuries in the clash.

Sinha said, “One good thing is that the people who came to visit the book fair have discarded them (Left supporters). We are not fools to allow them to steal the limelight by getting into a fight with them. Our fight is against the TMC.”

VHP spokesperson Sourish Mukherjee said, “They have been provocating us since the last three-four days. We have already intimated police more than once. But they have not taken any step. In an international book fair, this kind of incident is very unfortunate.”

Ranjit Sur, human rights activist and anti-CAA protesters, said: “Some students were campaigning peacefully and distributing leaflets. But some goons from the VHP stall came out and attacked them without any provocation. Police reached there and resorted to lathicharge and detained at least 25 of our supporters.”

Left-backed members gheraoed the organisers after the incident and protested against police action.

However, the police have confirmed the incident and said a number of protesters have been detained.