Kolkata: Even after the intervention of the Calcutta High Court, West Bengal government has once again declined permission for BJP’s proposed rath yatras in the state.
The government has, however, said that it is open to granting permission should Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah wants to hold a public rally in any part of the state.
Following the directive from a division bench of the High Court, senior officials of the state government had on Thursday held a meeting with state BJP leaders to discuss their proposed rath yatras. After the meeting, the BJP delegation was told that the decision will be communicated to them later.
Today evening a three-page letter was sent by the state home department to the BJP state headquarters by fax. The communique addressed to state president Dilip Ghosh and with copies marked to Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya stated that the permission has been denied.
BJP sources said that prime reason cited for the denial of permission is that the yatras are proposed for 42 days and that the state will not be able to dispense with 5,000-odd police personnel for such a long duration that will be required for providing security.
Secondly, it has been mentioned that the SP’s of the districts through which the yatras are to pass have expressed apprehension that the programme might lead to communal tension. Also, Intelligence agencies have alerted that Hindu fundamentalist groups might exploit the yatras to fan communal trouble.
Thirdly, BJP has proposed Sagar Island as one of the three starting points for the yatras. But given that the annual Gangasagar pilgrimage is around the corner, BJP cannot be allowed to start the yatra from Sagar Island.
Besides all these, the festive season is set to start in Bengal with Christmas on 25 December and will continue well till the first week of January. Given this, the yatras might create hindrances in the festive spirit, it has been mentioned.
Reacting to the denial of permission, the state BJP president said that they will knock the High Court again. “If the need arises, we shall resort to civil disobedience but the yatras will happen at any cost,” Ghosh said.
BJP had moved the High Court earlier this month after the state denied permission for the yatras that were to start from Cooch Behar, Birbhum, and Gangasagar.