Guwahati, Dec 9: Police fired rubber bullets in the air, burst tear gas shells and detained BJP leaders and workers today as they tried to march to Assam Assembly here today for staging a gherao to protest against the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government.
Police claimed action was taken to prevent the march as permission was not granted by the administration to BJP to carry out the programme.
Scores of slogan shouting BJP workers besides party MLAs and MPs, carrying placards and party flags, started their march from Khanapara area in the city, days after the five party MLAs and seven from Congress, who had recently declared their allegiance to the opposition party, were suspended by Assembly Speaker for the five-day Winter session for disobeying his ruling.
The MLAs had protested on the law and order situation in the state leadding to noisy scenes. As the demonstrators today broke police barricades to move forward, police burst tear gas shells and fired rubber bullets in the air to stop their march, the officials said.
BJP in-charge of Assam Prabhari Mahendra Singh told reporters that "an Emergency-like situation has been created by the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government here. The police is acting as an agent of the Congress to prevent a democratic movement".
Singh was speaking while he was being detained along with other BJP leaders and workers. Party MP Bijoya Chakraborty said, "We are peacefully going to the Assembly for our 'Dispur Gherao' programme to protest against the corrupt and anti-democratic Tarun Gogoi government. Gogoi has unleashed violence on us. We'll not tolerate if any one of us is injured".
Himanata Biswa Sarma, who recently joined BJP from Congress, was leading the march as protesters broke barricades. "We have undertaken this programme to save democracy and protest against Tarun Gogoi's corrupt government. Youth Congress activists are allowed to come up to the Assembly premises, but BJP supporters are not even allowed to enter the city," Sarma said.
"Thousands of our workers coming from different districts to participate in the protest programme have been denied entry in Guwahati. Despite this we have been successful and shall continue with our protest. Tarun Gogoi has become nervous," he said.
BJP MP Ramen Deka, who was injured when police tried to prevent him from marching forward, said, "We have gone to jail during the Emergency. We are not afraid now".
BJP national spokesman for Northeast, Siddhartha Bhattacharya, while addressing his workers said, "We are successful in our protest and no one can stop us. Due to the government action against us today, our workers have been enthused to work to save democracy. Congress has given a suicide call for itself today".
Meanwhile, the BJP workers in various districts who were allegedly prevented from coming to the capital city to participate in the march registered their protest locally by squatting on the roads and blocking highways, according to police and party sources.