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Prophet row protests: Bengal Police stops BJP's Suvendu Adhikari from visiting violence-hit Howrah

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Kolkata, Jun 12: West Bengal Police has stopped BJP leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari in East Midnapore district while he was on his way to visit violence-hit Howrah.

Suvendu Adhikari

Adhikari was moving with his security entourage when he was stopped by a huge police team at Radharani More in Tamluk. He was not accompanied by any other BJP leader.

"We have received information that Adhikari was planning to visit Howrah district, in parts of which Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed. So, as a precautionary measure, we had to prevent him from going there as his visit may cause a law and order problem," a senior police officer told PTI.

Adhikari remained seated inside the vehicle, claiming he had no intention of visiting Howrah. He was also reluctant to return to his Kanthi in Purba Medinipur district from where he had started.

He engaged in heated arguments with police officers present at the spot, who were blocking his vehicle.

The stand-off continued till the report was filed. Before leaving for Howrah, Adhikari had said he would move the court on Monday if he was stopped from visiting vandalised BJP offices in the district, which witnessed violent protests over controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad by suspended BJP spokespersons.

His assertion came after Kanthi Police Station issued a letter asking him not to visit Howrah as prohibitory orders are clamped in several areas in the district.

The letter, issued by the officer-in-charge of Kanthi Police Station, stated that concern over his security was the main reason for asking him not to visit parts of Howrah district where Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed.

"I will visit our party offices in Howrah district that were ransacked. Police have asked me not to visit areas where Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed. But I will not violate prohibitory orders as I will go there alone.

"If I am stopped by the police, I will move the court tomorrow (Monday). An LoP can't be stopped from visiting a trouble-torn area," Adhikari said before leaving his Kanthi residence.

BJP state unit chief Sukanta Majumdar was arrested on Saturday afternoon when he was heading towards Howrah district. He was later released.

"After putting BJP WB President Sukanta Majumdar under detention, Mamata Banerjee is now ensuring that LoP Suvendu Adhikari is not able to visit Howrah, where BJP offices have been gutted. Her entire focus is on the opposition, not on rampaging 'Dudhel Gais' (milch cows), as she calls them," BJP's West Bengal co-in charge Amit Malviya tweeted.

Reacting to the development, senior TMC leader Kunal Ghosh alleged that Adhikari wants to visit Howrah with the intention of fanning trouble.

"What is the need for visiting areas where Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed? He is going to Howrah to create trouble. The BJP wants to destroy the peaceful atmosphere in the state," he said.

Protests erupted in several parts of Howrah district on Friday over controversial remarks by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled leader Naveen Jindal on Prophet Mohammad.

Agitators resorted to stone-pelting, setting police vehicles on fire and damaging public property during violent protests and clashes with the law enforcers in the district. Fresh violent protests were reported in Panchla on Saturday.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been clamped in several areas of Howrah including Uluberia, Panchla and Domjur till June 15 and internet services have been suspended in the entire district till June 13 to prevent the spread of misinformation.

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