Kolkata: West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Suvendu Adhikari and state BJP Yuva Morcha president Soumitra Khan along with a number of party activists were detained by the police in the city on Monday for holding protests on TMC's 'Khela Hobe Diwas'. The BJP leaders and workers were protesting against the alleged attacks on saffron camp members by the TMC since the assembly poll as part of the saffron party's 'Poschim Bongo Bachao Diwas' programme to counter the 'Khela Hobe Diwas'.
After Khan and BJP leaders Kalyan Choubey and Mina Devi Purohit were detained for assembling at Rani Rasmoni Avenue in the heart of the city, Ghosh and Adhikari sat on a dharna at the foot of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on nearby Mayo Road. Soon they were taken into preventive detention by the police citing the Disaster Management Act which is in place due to the prevailing coronavirus situation.
"TMC is deliberately creating trouble in Tripura and talking about attack on democracy in that state. What is it doing here? Not allowing us to carry on our peaceful protests," Ghosh said before he was arrested. Senior BJP leader Debasree Choudhury was also detained for refusing to leave the venue, where hundreds of police personnel were present.
The BJP leaders were all taken to the Lalbazar Kolkata Police headquarters and allowed to go on P R bond. While the BJP claimed that it leaders and activists were arrested, a senior Kolkata Police officer said over 50 BJP activists, including few leaders of the party, were taken to preventive custody for assembling at Rani Rasmoni Avenue and Mayo Road in violation of the Disaster Management Act.
BJP state spokesman Shamik Bhattacharya claimed that a state unit president of the party, the leader of opposition and a former union minister (Debasree Choudhury) were arrested for their peaceful democratic protest. "This shows how intolerant the Mamata Banerjee government is about a non-violent protest. It is scared," he added. BJP state vice-president Jaiprakash Majumdar alleged that hundreds of TMC workers were assembling in different parts of West Bengal for its 'Khela Hobe Divas' programme but no provision of the Disaster Management Act is applied against them.
TMC MP Sougata Roy said he will not comment on the police action but anyone found flouting the Disaster Management Act can be arrested by the force if it deemed so.