Calcutta High Court Quashes Mamata Govt's Refusal to Permit BJP Rally in Bengal
The Yuva Morcha rally is scheduled for January 11 from Contai in East Midnapore and will end at Cooch Behar in North Bengal on 18 January.
The single Bench judge of the High Court, Justice Debangshu Basak, also granted temporary stay on his order to enable the state to appeal against it before a Division Bench. (File photo)
Kolkata: In what is being seen as yet another shot in the arm for the BJP in Bengal and an embarrassment for the Mamata Banerjee administration, the Calcutta High Court allowed BJP's Yuva Morcha to take out a rally in the state. The order was passed by setting aside the Bengal police's last minute refusal to grant permission for the same.
This is the fourth instance in recent memory when the court intervened to set aside a government decision to grant relief to the aggrieved BJP or its associates. In January 2017, the High Court had quashed Mamata Banerjee government's denial to permit a public meeting of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the Kolkata Maidan. The court also set aside bans on Durga Puja immersion processions which coincided with Eid in the last two subsequent years.
The permission for the Yuva Morcha rally was, however, granted subject to certain conditions which the party needs to fulfil. They include holding the rally in an organised manner, not disturb free movement of traffic, organisers providing 30-minute prior information to district authorities before entry and exit from every district and abiding by just directions of district administrations.
The single Bench judge of the High Court, Justice Debangshu Basak, also granted temporary stay on his order to enable the state to appeal against it before a Division Bench. The state has expressed its intentions to move the higher Bench against the order on Thursday.
The rally is scheduled for January 11 from Contai in East Midnapore and will end at Cooch Behar in North Bengal on 18 January. It would pass through several districts en route and comprise more than 250 motor cycles and a few tableaus.
The rally has been planned to commemorate the birth anniversaries of Sister Nivedita and Swami Vivekananda. Organisers say this "Pratirodh Sankalp Abhiyan" will also highlight the plight of women in Bengal and the violence perpetrated against them.
The Bengal police had earlier denied permission for the rally citing the need for police deployment at the Gangasagar Mela, where lakhs of pilgrims assemble from all parts of the country and which would be held around the same time.
While inaugurating a government programme to mark Swami Vivekanandas's birth anniversary at the Gangasagar Mela ground in Kolkata, chief minister Mamata Banerjee reacted sharply to this development at court. Without naming the BJP, she said: "You will be responsible if any untoward incident happens at Gangasagar for lack of adequate security cover."
"We had sent the intimation for this rally on 5 January. But the police sent a refusal mail to me only late last night only to ensure that we are unable to move court in time. But their ploy failed," said Debjit Sarkar, president of the BJP Yuva Morcha in Bengal. "The refusal was more out of political considerations than administrative," he added.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the High Court also passed an order allowing the Hindu Jagaran Manch to hold a meeting on 12 January at the Basanti area of South 24 Parganas district in Bengal after police refused permission and the aggrieved organisation moved court. The area has recently witnessed violence between two communities and permission was denied by the police on grounds of vulnerability to more violence.
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