Broken spectacles, slippers, stones, burning tyres fallen barricades and injured protesters squatting on the road. The streets of Kolkata, especially the iconic Howrah bridge, resembled a war zone of sorts after BJP cadre clashed with the police.
Kolkata: BJP's Nabanna campaign rally started on October 8 afternoon. BJP workers and supporters from different districts started arriving at Howrah from October 7 night.
Parts of Kolkata and adjoining Howrah resembled a battle zone on Thursday as BJP workers and supporters clashed with police, hurling stones and blocking roads with burning tyres, to protest a string of killings of BJP workers.
There was chaos in the city when BJP started its Nabanna campaign rally.
The traffic congestion on Strand Road reached Bentick Street.
Cars stopped in front of the barricades. After pushing through the crowd of buses, taxis, and bikes for about 6 km, the office car left from Strand Road.
People had to stop in front of the Howrah Bridge. The situation turned volatile as soon as the procession began.
The police force was ready with batons, tear gas shells, water cannons, fire engine, and aluminum barricades to stop the procession. Then, bombs went off one after the other.
The on-duty policemen started buzzing, "Get ready. But there will be trouble here too."
Howrah and Kolkata police officials were trying to boost the morale of subordinates.
Last year, the BJP made a splash in the Lalbazar campaign. Avoiding police obstruction, the supporters went to the Kolkata police headquarters in Lalbazar. The police had to work hard to handle the situation. There was a lot of speculation in the police department regarding BJP's Nabanna campaign rally. The administration did not want to leave the BJP workers and supporters on the road even though the Nabanna (State Secretariat) was locked for sanitation.
One barricade after another was already thrown on the road at Howrah Bridge. The whole situation turned into a battlefield.
Around 2pm, the procession was seen marching from a distance. By then, the police had started announcing over mic, "This procession is illegal. Turn around. Otherwise, action will be taken according to the law."
With helmet on the head, mask on the face, the policemen got ready to handle the situation.
On the other side, a crowd of young BJP workers was leading the procession. The workers had BJP party flag in hand. 'Jai Sriram' slogan was chanted in the procession.
The protesters were also heard calling the police 'brokers' of the government.
Suddenly, the crowd of the procession fell on the barricade. It was seen that the policemen were trying to stop the flow of people with all their might. But many of the protesters were trying to climb the barricades.
The crowd was seen moving over the barricade with great speed. BJP supporters were trying to push the barricades. On the other hand, the police were also trying hard to control the situation.
After a while, it was seen that the water cannon was turned on. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh's car was still far behind. BJP supporters started violence amid the procession.
Policemen rushed towards the people who were creating a mess on road. Visuals from the spot showed police dressed in riot gear trying to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons as stones were thrown from the other side.
A woman lying on the street was saying, "This is democracy? Beat us in this way? The Trinamool will get the answer in the vote.”
According to reports, the woman came from North 24 Parganas. She fell on the street with leg pain and was begging for help. But nobody helped her. The police were busy in dispersing the crowd.
Similar scenes were witnessed on the other side of the road. There, a youth front leader fell unconscious. Journalists present at the scene tried to drag him. But he did not regain consciousness. At last, he was taken to the hospital.
Post-noon, the BJP had held three marches all of which were making their way towards the state secretariat. The biggest of them, from Maidan, was led by Tejasvi Surya.
The protesters were stopped midway, prompting angry BJP supporters to attack the police with stones. When they tried to pull down the barricades, the police responded with teargas shells.
An unspecified number of protesters were detained. Police claimed they recovered a loaded pistol from one of the protesters. The police also said the BJP workers were targeting them with crude bombs, an accusation the BJP denied.
At the end of the rally, a lot of slippers were found strewn around in the streets. There were broken spectacles too. Some people were found sitting on the street after being severely beaten. The rest of the crowd started marching towards the BJP state office at Murlidhar Sen Lane.
Last Updated 9, Oct 2020, 3:03 PM