Kolkata: West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh on Wednesday termed his party’s 12-hour shutdown as successful and peaceful barring a few stray incidents and blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress activists for the sporadic violence. The BJP leader also announced the withdrawal of the shutdown call around 4 p.m., two hours ahead of the scheduled time.
Following the killing of two youths during a clash between agitating students and the police last week over the recruitment of new teachers at a school in North Dinajpur district’s Islampur, the state BJP leadership had called for the shutdown across the state, claiming the two were shot dead by the police. “The shutdown has been successful. People have shown their support towards our call and backed it spontaneously. So we are withdrawing the shutdown two hours earlier so that the lives of common people are not further hampered,” Ghosh told the reporters here.
“The situation was largely peaceful, barring a few incidents. The Trinamool Congress- backed hooligans resorted to violence in most places so as to put the blame on us. We have not asked anybody to enforce the shutdown. The violence and vandalism are neither sponsored nor supported by the BJP,” he claimed.
The BJP leader said over 2,000 party activists were arrested across the state and demanded their immediate and unconditional release. He denied the Trinamool’s claim of hooliganism by the BJP, adding that his party activists had appealed to the people to observe the shutdown peacefully. “There has been no hooliganism. Our activists held 10 rallies in Kolkata. If they wanted they could have created disruptions, but nothing like that happened. If we wanted we could have brought the city to a standstill by torching 10 more buses but we do not believe in such practices,” he said.
A number of state-run buses, including one in Kolkata, were vandalised and torched allegedly by the bandh supporters across the state. Taking a swipe at Chief Minister Banerjee who termed the shutdown as a hindrance to productive work, Ghosh claimed that Banerjee herself had created a record in calling strikes and shutdowns in the state earlier. “She had called for 73 shutdowns in Bengal — a record in itself. No one, not even the CPI-M, can come close to that figure. Also, she had called for a 36-hour shutdown once. Now, she has completely changed her stance and started opposing it,” Ghosh claimed.
Ghosh accused Transport Minister and Trinamool leader Subhendu Adhikari of triggering unrest in Islampur by holding a rally there. “The situation in Islampur became tense because of the Minister’s rally. He rallied anti-social elements. Members of terrorist organisations were seen in the area. People have expressed their anger against this government,” the BJP leader added.