Kolkata, June 12: BJP's protest march in Kolkata was suspended mid-way after clashes broke out between the BJP and TMC workers. Police resorted to lathi charge after tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse the unruly crowd.
The BJP, with its newly elected MPs from Bengal, had orgainsed a massive protest march against the alleged TMC violence against the party workers.
As the BJP activists jostled to reach the police headquarters in the city, police resorted to firing tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse them. BJP alleges that police is supporting the TMC goons.
In retaliation, the saffron party workers raised slogans and hurled stones and bottles at the officers.
Some of the party workers were seen holding a sit-in demonstration in the area in protest.
Amid heightened security arrangements, the saffron party workers, led by leaders like BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, state party chief Dilip Ghosh, MP S.S. Ahluwalia and Mukul Roy, started the 'mega condemnation march' to Lalbazar.
The protest was against the alleged killing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and breakdown of the law and order situation in the state.
The agitators started the rally from central Kolkata's Subodh Mullick Square and broke a barricade at Ganesh Chandra Avenue, close to 200 meters from entry gate of Lalbazar. The police fired two water cannons to disperse them.
The Rapid Action Force personnel lobbed tear gas shells at the rallyists and resorted to minor baton charge on the Central Avenue to stop them from re-organising the rally.
"We will continue our protest programme in a peaceful manner. The streets of Kolkata do not belong to Mamata Banerjee alone that she would throttle the democratic movement using her police force. Shame, shame Mamata Banerjee," state BJP leader Jay Prakash Majumdar said.
BJP state General Secretary Raju Banerjee had gone unconscious in the scuffle. He was taken to a hospital.
Earlier in the day, three members of BJP's women wing (Mahila Morcha) were arrested by the police for demonstrating in front of Lalbazar.
In 2017, the party had held another march to the city Police Headquarters, during which a large number of BJP workers clashed with police leading to chaotic scenes on the streets.
News24 Bureau/ Agencies