Kolkata Police on Saturday summoned three more BJP MLAs for allegedly “insulting the National Anthem” during a protest by the ruling TMC which was also attended by the party’s chief and state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
On Friday, Kolkata Police’s Anti-Rowdy Section (ARS) had sent notices to five BJP MLAs – Shankar Ghosh, Monoj Tigga, Dipak Burman, Sudip Banerjee, and Niladri Shekhar Dana – for allegedly insulting the National Anthem.
They have been asked to visit the Kolkata Police headquarters on Monday.
Two FIRs have been registered against 18 BJP MLAs at Hare Street Police Station on a complaint lodged by TMC. The ruling party has alleged that BJP MLAs insulted the national anthem when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other TMC MLAs were singing it during a dharna inside the Assembly premises on Thursday. The TMC MLAs had been on a three-day dharna against the Centre over non-payment of state’s dues.
A team of Kolkata Police’s detective department also visited the West Bengal Legislative Assembly for video documentation of the area near the Dr BR Ambedkar statue and the main entrance of the House where the TMC and BJP were protesting.
Meanwhile, TMC leaders on Saturday held demonstrations across West Bengal to protest against the BJP MLAs’ act to “cleanse” Dr BR Ambedkar’s statue with Gangajal on Friday. Protests were staged in Kolkata, Jhargram town, Siliguri and other places by the TMC and its various arms, where leaders of the ruling party alleged that the BJP was practising “divisive politics” and “instilling fear among people belonging to minorities, Dalits and backward classes” in the country.
“We strongly condemn the move of BJP legislators in the West Bengal assembly. They have insulted representatives of tribal communities by referring to them as impure with their so-called purification drive. It is a blot in the chequered history of the Assembly,” state minister and local MLA Birbaha Hansda said at a protest rally at Jhargram in the Jangolmahal belt with a sizable tribal population.
There would be bigger agitations by tribals against the “insult” to their representatives in future, she said.
TMC MP Mala Roy was among those present at a demonstration in Kolkata where the posters read: “Shame to BJP for insulting the tribal brothers and sisters of Bengal in the state assembly compound”. In Kolkata, TMC leader Koushik Biswas said, “BJP not only insulted the National Anthem, but they also our SC/ST MLAs. People of this state will give a befitting answer to them in upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”
In the Darjeeling rally, TMC leaders accused the BJP of indulging in the “politics of religion and making people in minority and backward communities insecure by their actions”.
Reacting to the allegations, BJP MLA Monoj Tigga said, “I also belong to the Adivasi community. The TMC insulted me and filed an FIR against me. TMC does not believe in democracy.”
BJP MLAs had stoked a row on Friday after they washed the protest site with Gangajal, triggering allegations of insulting the tribal leaders of the TMC.
BJP MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, entered the Assembly premises with kalash (pitchers) containing Gangajal on their heads and headed to the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar where the TMC legislators had sat on dharna for the past three days.
“Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) and others who were sitting at the statue of Ambedkar are thieves. They tarnished the image of our democracy and our Constitution architect BR Ambedkar. So, we cleaned that area as per the Hindu Sanatan dharma,” Adhikari had told mediapersons after cleaning the area, which the BJP called “shuddhikaran abhiyan (purification programme)”.