West Bengal: BJP moves Calcutta HC with fresh plea to hold 'rath yatra'
Kolkata, Dec 17: The BJP moved the Calcutta High Court on Monday with a fresh plea, challenging the West Bengal government's denial of permission to the party's proposed 'rath yatra' in the state. The state government had held a meeting on the 'rath yatra' with a three-member BJP team as per the HC's direction, following which it informed the party on Saturday that permission could be granted for the 'yatra'.
Representing the saffron party, lawyer Saptangshu Basu mentioned the matter before the court of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and sought permission to file a fresh petition. Justice Chakraborty allowed the BJP to file the petition and asked its lawyer to serve copies of it to the state government and other respondents in the matter.
The petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday before Justice Chakraborty's court, Basu said.
The party had proposed to take out three 'rath yatras' in different parts of the state ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2019. The BJP moved a division bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single-judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty refused permission to the party to hold the yatra.
The division bench had on December 7 directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12, and take a decision on the 'yatra' by December 14.
The dates of the meeting and decision-making were later postponed by a day each by the court. In the letter to BJP on December 15, the West Bengal government said, "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 communal propaganda."
In the letter, the government mentioned that intelligence inputs were obtained from district magistrates, commissioners of police, superintendents of police and the assessment of the Intelligence Bureau on the routes proposed by the BJP for the yatra.
The large number of convoys in the yatra would create a chaotic situation and cause traffic disruption on arterial roads and highways, the government said. According to the original yatra schedule submitted by the BJP, party national president Amit Shah was to kickstart the campaign titled 'Save Democracy Rally' from Cooch Behar district on December 7, from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.