The Calcutta High Court today directed that a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) rally be stopped for two days in view of a mob attack on it.
The vehicle of a court-appointed special officer was damaged in the mob attack.
Following the high court’s nod to the BJYM motorcycle rally, the ‘Sankalpa Pratirodh Yatra’ started from Contai and reached here last evening.
The rally was opposed by the West Bengal government citing lack of police personnel owing to the ongoing Gangasagar Mela.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice A Banerjee directed that further movement of the rally be postponed till January 15.
It would now culminate at Coochbehar on January 20, two days behind the schedule.
The high court-appointed special officer, Rabishankar Dutta, informed the court that the windscreen and a side screen of his vehicle were smashed by a group of 20-25 men throwing stones and glass bottles near Mohammed Ali Park on Central Avenue in the city.
He said he was accompanying the rally as per the division bench’s direction and that pieces of glass from the shattered windscreen and sides creen fell on his hands.
He told the court that he had suspended the rally for the day following the attack.
Advocate General Kishore Datta submitted before the court that FIRs have been lodged in connection with the incident and that 10 people have been arrested.
The AG prayed that the rally be suspended till January 26 as there is paucity of police personnel owing to the Gangasagar Mela where lakhs of pilgrims congregate from all over the country.
Saptangshu Mitra, counsel for BJYM, opposed the prayer saying that preparations have already been made and this will cause major inconvenience as the rally has already begun.
The AG then told the court that the organisers had not followed the court’s instruction to provide detailed route map for the rally a day in advance for each day’s event.
He prayed that such time was necessary to make arrangements as the organisers have estimated that around 20,000 motorbikes would participate in the rally which would move through several districts of the state from Contai in the south to Coochbehar in the north.
The division bench then directed that the movement of the rally be postponed for two days.
In the meantime, detailed route maps would have to be provided and the special officer and a judicial officer accompanying the rally would sit together to discuss modalities over each day’s rally.
The division bench had yesterday rejected an appeal by the state government challenging a single bench order that allowed the rally to be organised from its original schedule.
Putting certain conditions on holding of the rally, the division bench had appointed a special officer to monitor the yatra and directed that if there is any violation of law and order or deviation from route, the officer would intervene and stop the rally forthwith.