The Calcutta High court on Tuesday allowed BJP Balurghat MP Sukanta Mazumdar to distribute relief material in his North Bengal constituency. Mazumdar was stopped by Police after he was returning back home from Gangarampur where he has gone to distribute relief material after the lockdown was called to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The incident occurred on April 23rd, a month after the lockdown was enforced by the Central government.
Mazumdar’s vehicle was stopped by the police on the national highway. Officials had claimed that it was a violation of the law during the lockdown as the local Police station was not informed of his movements. There was also a face off between locals and BJP supporters. Police suggested that the BJP MP stay in home quarantine as he was responsible for the assembly of more than 8-10 people at one time, which was a violation of the lockdown.
The BJP MP then sat on a dharna in the middle of the road. He also sent West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar a message, apprising him of the incident and asked him to intervene. The Governor responded to the BJP MP's phone call immediately and asked him to hand over the phone to the traffic inspector on duty and asked why an elected member was stopped from meeting people in his constituency.
The officer however refused to budge. This was yet another flash-point between the Governor and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) administration in West Bengal.
In another incident BJP MP Dilip Ghosh was also stopped by Police a few days after cyclone Amphan hit West Bengal. Ghosh was on his way to distribute relief material in South 24 Parganas district, which was the worst affected area during the cyclone.
Police cited similar reasons of lockdown violations as he was travelling to another district without prior permission.