BJP workers, students clash during Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata

Clashes broke out between BJP supporters and student activists of the Trinamool Congress Chatra Parishad (TMCP) and left parties during Amit Shah’s roadshow in the city this evening. Trouble began after stones were pelted at Amit Shah’s convoy as it passed through College Street and the arterial Bidhan Sarani on its way to Swami Vivekananda’s residence in north Kolkata, a little over 3.5 km from Esplanade in the heart of the city, where it began.

A scuffle broke outside the Calcutta University campus on College Street, when student activists of both the Left and the TMCP shouted slogans against Shah. They showed black flags and waved posters with “Amit Shah go back” written on them. The police controlled the scuffle.

A clash took place outside Vidyasagar college and university hostel when TMCP activists threw stones at Shah’s convoy. The agitated BJP supporters locked the gates of the hostel and set cycles and motorbikes parked outside on fire. They also threw stones at the building.

Officials said that a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidysagar, after whom the college is named, which was outside hostel building was broken by BJP supporters during the clash. A huge police contingent was rushed to the spot and controlled the situation.

The violence triggered a sharp reaction from Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who appealed for calm but pinned the blame for the violence on BJP supporters. “We apologise for their acts… Why did the police allow them to hold the roadshow?” Banerjee said at a public meeting in south Kolkata’s Behala area minutes after the first reports of the violence came in. Banerjee also warned that if its leaders ended up hurting Bengal’s heritage, “no one will be more dangerous than me”.

Amit Shah, on the other hand, told television channels after his roadshow that Trinamool Congress supporters with black flags had attacked his party workers at two places. “I was scheduled to visit Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral home after the roadshow but the police guided my car to a different road,” Amit Shah said.  BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said he had no idea about the trouble. “We had passed the spot much earlier,” said BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.

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