One dead as BJP rally turns violent in Bengal

Police forced to use tear gas and water cannons in Siliguri, one BJP worker reported dead


A rally by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turned violent in Siliguri on Monday when participants tried to break past police barricades. BJP workers reportedly pelted stones at the police when prevented from going past the barricades. Police in turn used water cannons and tear gas on the BJP members who were part of the Uttarkanya Abhiyan rally, a march to the branch secretariat of the state government in South Siliguri.

In a statement released, West Bengal Police said, “Today in Siliguri, serious acts of violence were committed by the supporters of a political party during their protest program. They resorted to arson, brick-batting, firing and vandalism of govt property.”

One BJP worker, identified as Ulenn Roy, was reportedly killed in the violence.

On the subject of the death, police said, “Police showed restraint and didn’t do lathicharge or use fire arms. Only water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse the violent crowd. However, death of a person has been reported. Body is being sent for PM (post-mortem examination). The actual cause of death will be known only after the PM.”

The rally, organised by Bharatiya Jan Yuva Morcha (BJYM), was meant to be a show of strength for the party in North Bengal that has 54 assembly seats. Assembly elections will take place in West Bengal next year, and it is no secret that the BJP sees the state as the most coveted one in the entire bouquet of non-BJP run states in the country.

No wonder the BJP got big-wigs like National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and National President of BJP Yuva Morcha Tejasvi Surya to lead Monday’s rally. Others who walked in the Uttarkanya Cholo march included Nitish Pramanik who is the Member of Parliament (MPs) from Coochbehar, Balurghat MP Dr. Sukanta Majumdar, Alipurduar MP John Barla and Darjeeling MP Raju Bista.

The BJP has been particularly shaken in the region in wake of both factions of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporting Mamata Bannerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). Both factions held back-to-back rallies recently decrying the BJP’s inaction on the long-standing demand for Gorkhaland.  


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