Bharatiya Janata Party activists on Wednesday held a 'civil disobedience programme' in West Bengal's Howrah district to protest against the denial of permission to the party's proposed Rath Yatra and accused the state government of "undemocratically impeding" their political programmes.
The saffron party activists later clashed with the local police when the latter denied permission for the meeting and tried to forcibly remove them from demonstrating by blocking roads.
"We know that the common people are inconvenienced due to our civil disobedience programme today. But our party is facing a bigger problem. In spite of being the biggest political party in the world, the BJP is barred from holding rallies and meetings in this state. That is why we are forced to hold such law violation programmes," state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said while addressing the gathering.
"The Bengal government is forcing us to resort to such extremism. We are holding civil disobedience in all the districts to protest against this government's role to suppress the voice of the BJP," he said.
The BJP leader further alleged that while leaders from other states and neighbouring countries are permitted to hold public rallies in Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee government is deliberately stopping his party from doing the same and stressed such "duality" will not be allowed for long.
"All other political parties are allowed to hold meetings in the state. Even Muslim clerics from Bangladesh are allowed to hold meetings here. Leaders like Asaduddin Owaisi from Hyderabad were also allowed but not our leaders. There is neither any curfew in Bengal nor is the BJP a banned organisation, so why such things are happening?" he questioned.
BJP's plea to hold the 'Rath Yatra', touted as the "save democracy rally", was rejected by the Bengal Government last week, stating there was "grave apprehension of major breach of peace and communal violence during and in the aftermath" of the programme.
(With inputs from agencies.)