The Calcutta high court on Thursday allowed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to proceed with its ‘Save Democracy’ Rath Yatra in West Bengal, in a major setback to the Mamata Banerjee government. The state had refused permission for the proposed ‘yatra’, citing intelligence reports of possible communal violence in areas where the party was planning the rallies.
Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty directed the state BJP to inform the superintendents of police of the districts, in which the rallies shall enter, at least 12 hours ahead of schedule.
The party was also directed to ensure that the ‘Yatras’ are conducted abiding by the law and shall not impede normal movement of vehicular traffic.
Justice Chakraborty said that the petitioner BJP will be vicariously responsible for any damage or loss of public property. He also directed that the police shall deploy adequate force to ensure that there is no breach of law and order.
Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “We welcome Calcutta High Court’s decision and we had trust on judiciary that we’ll get justice. This decision is a slap on the face of tyranny. We haven’t decided anything but I can assure that PM and party chief will join the yatra.”
The BJP had planned three rallies — one from Cooch Behar, in the northern part of the state — and two others from Kakdwip, in the extreme southern part, and Tarapith temple in Birbhum district. All the three yatras would cover 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal – one of the few non-BJP states.
Earlier, the High Court had denied BJP permission for the yatras on grounds of possible “communal tension”.