Kolkata: The Calcutta high court on Thursday said it cannot give permission at this stage for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in Cooch Behar, scheduled to be flagged off by party president Amit Shah on Friday, after the West Bengal government refused to allow the event on the grounds that it might cause communal tension.
The court directed that superintendents of police of all districts in West Bengal will file a report by December 21 to it on the holding of ‘rath yatra’ rallies by the BJP, after hearing all the district presidents of the party. Directing that the rally stands deferred till the next date of hearing on January 9, Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty observed that the prayer of BJP for permission to hold the ‘rath yarta’ cannot be granted at this stage.
The BJP was scheduled to hold three ‘rath yatras’ that will start from different parts and traverse all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies. It had moved the court seeking a direction to the state government for giving permission for its rallies after its applications allegedly went unanswered.
The BJP campaign was scheduled to begin from Cooch Behar district in the north on December 7, from Kakdwip in the South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.
State advocate general Kishore Dutta told the court that the Cooch Behar superintendent of police refused permission for the BJP president’s rath yatra from Friday. The state government submitted that it might cause communal tension in the district. Mr Dutta said the district has a history of communal issues and that there was information that some “communal provocators” and rowdy elements had become active there.
The SP’s refusal letter also noted that several top BJP leaders would come to Cooch Behar, as also people from other states, stating that these may affect the communally sensitive district....