WB govt denies permission for BJP’s Rath Yatra

Kolkata: The West Bengal government has denied permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to hold Rath Yatra in the state.

In a letter to West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, the Mamata Banerjee-led state government said that the areas proposed to be covered during the Yatra are turning into “communally sensitive pockets”.

“The areas proposed to be covered by the Yatra are, because of publicity and 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 propaganda,” the letter read.

The state government, citing intelligence reports also claimed that the Yatra may trigger communal violence in several districts due to the participation of the RSS, Bajrang Dal and the VHP.

“Intelligence reports further indicate that in several districts, organisations with overtly communal agenda like the RSS, Bajrang Dal and the VHP would actively join the Yatra. This is grave apprehension of ‘breach of peace’ and communal violence during and in the aftermath of the Yatra,” the letter added.

However, Ghosh told ANI that the BJP can hold sabha (meeting) in place of Yatra for which it would sought a fresh permission.

The West Bengal government has claimed in the letter that a large convoy of the Yatra would create a chaotic situation and grave disruption of traffic. “During the period cited, major festivals and events are scheduled, requiring a heavy deployment of the resources of the government including Police Force,” it added.

Earlier, a single bench of the court had refused to give permission to the BJP to hold the Yatra. The judicature had upheld the concerns cited by the West Bengal government that the programme may stoke communal tensions and cause violence in the region.

The BJP had planned to hold three Rath Yatras beginning with Cooch Behar district December 6, Kakdwip in the South 24 Parganas district on December 9 and Tarapith in Birbhum district on December 14. The Yatra was to be flagged off by party president Amit Shah from Cooch Behar.