India

BJP workers clash with police in Bengal over temple celebrations

Kolkata, Aug 5 (IANS) Even as the nation was busy celebrating bhumi pujan for the new Ram temple in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of BJP supporters in West Bengal fought pitched battles with police in different parts of the state after they were alleged stopped from celebrations.

Sporadic clashes took place in different districts as police baton-charged the Bharatiya Janata Party activists and made random arrests. Many BJP workers were arrested for gathering during a statewide lockdown on Wednesday.

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Sources said the police tried to stop BJP activists in West Midnapore's Kharagpur town after they assembled to offer ‘puja' at a Ram temple. Disgruntled devotees pelted police with stones, injuring a Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO-Kharagpur) Sukamal Das. Later, the police lathi-charged the crowd.

In Jalpaiguri district, the religious celebrations at a BJP office in Shalbari area was stopped by the police, leading to heated exchanges between police and district BJP workers.

A clash between police and BJP activists also took place in Birbhum's Suri area as the district administration tried to stop a rally taken out to mark the events at Ayodhya. Hundreds of BJP activists hit the road, chanting slogans in the name of Lord Ram.

Similar incident was reported from Dholahat-Simulbera area in South 24-Parganas. Three policemen were injured in a clash with BJP supporters, police said.

In East Midnapore's Mahishadal area, the police also stopped BJP workers from celebrating the ‘bhumi pujan' in Ayodhya. When BJP workers gathered at a party office, officials from the area police station went to the spot and asked everyone to disperse. Later, religious rituals were performed by BJP workers.

At least eight rounds were allegedly fired in Narayanpur area of Rajarhat in North 24-Parganas district as ruling Trinamool Congress' workers and BJP supporters fought over the issue of putting BJP flags in the area.

“Miscreants attacked BJP supporters when they were putting up party flags in the area. The attack was organised by Bidhannagar's Deputy Mayor Tapas Chattopadhyay. The TMC-backed miscreants opened fire and also hurled crude bombs at our supporters,” claimed West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh.

He said that the state government tried to stop BJP workers from celebrating the occasion in various districts. “The West Bengal government deliberately announced a lockdown on August 5 in the state to stop temple-related celebrations,” Ghosh added.

The BJP state chief said that he also offered prayers to Lord Shiva this morning at his home. “This is not related to any political agenda. Everyone offers ‘puja' and so did I this morning,” he said.

–IANS

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