16 Dec 2018
WB-government refuses permission for BJP's Rath Yatra citing possible communal-violence
Written byAakanksha Raghuvanshi ·
The West Bengal government yesterday refused permission for the BJP's proposed Rath Yatra, citing intelligence reports of possible communal violence in areas where the party was planning to take out the yatra.
In a letter to state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, the West Bengal government said it was unable to allow the yatra as proposed by the party.
There's grave apprehension of major breach of peace: Government
Intelligence reports indicated that "in several districts, organizations with overtly communal agenda, such as the RSS, the Bajrang Dal, and the VHP, would actively join the yatra. There is a grave apprehension of major breach of peace... during and after the yatra," the state government said in the letter.
Reacting to the development, BJP said it would move a higher court against it.
BJP criticized the government's decision, called it 'totally undemocratic'
Reacting to the development, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya criticized the Trinamool Congress government's decision and said his party would move a higher court against it.
Ghosh also termed the WB government's decision "totally undemocratic".
The saffron party had proposed to take out three Rath Yatras in different parts of the state ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
BJP moved Division Bench of Calcutta-HC after Chakraborty denied permission
The BJP moved a division bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single-judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty refused permission to the party to hold the yatra.
The division bench had on December 7 directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12.
Refused permission citing intelligence reports of possible communal violence
The Divisional Bench had also directed WB government officials and BJP representatives to take a decision on the 'rath yatra' by December 14.
Following the meeting, state government officials had told the BJP that the decision will be conveyed to them by Saturday.
In the letter to the BJP, the WB government said the yatra, as perceived by the people, will turn into communal-propaganda.
Intelligence reports obtained on routes proposed by BJP for Yatra
"The areas proposed to be covered by the yatra are, because of publicity, propaganda, gradually turning into communally sensitive pockets. Intelligence reports indicate that public perception is that the religious overtones of the yatra will be turned into communal propaganda," the letter stated.
In the letter, the government has mentioned that intelligence inputs were obtained on the routes proposed by BJP for the yatra.
Convoys would create chaotic situation, cause traffic disruption: WB Government
The government stated intelligence inputs were obtained from district magistrates, commissioners of police, superintendents of police and the assessment of the Intelligence Bureau on mentioned routes.
A large number of convoys in the Yatra would create a chaotic situation and cause traffic disruption on arterial roads and highways, the government said.
The letter also stated that major festivals are scheduled during the period cited.
Yatra schedule by BJP proposed 158 meetings across West Bengal
"Furthermore, during the period cited, major festivals and events are scheduled, and it required a heavy deployment of the resources of the government, including the police force," the letter read.
According to the 34-day yatra schedule submitted by the BJP, there were plans to hold 158 meetings across West Bengal and the three segments of yatra would cover religious sites.
Permission for particular meetings would be decided solely: State government
The government said, "We are therefore of the opinion that it is not possible to allow the yatra as proposed by BJP."
The state government, however, said permission for any particular meeting would be decided solely by the district authorities on a case-to-case basis.
"Therefore, for each meeting proposed, BJP may apply afresh before the relevant district authorities with all required details," it said.
The Rath Yatras were to cover all 42 LS constituencies
BJP national president Amit Shah was to kickstart the campaign titled Save Democracy Rally from Cooch Behar district on December 7, from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14 in West Bengal.
The 'Rath Yatras' were to cover all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal.