Kolkata: Clashes broke out between BJP activists and police on Wednesday, when the saffron party took out a rally here to protest against the spurt in dengue cases.
The protest march, convened by the BJP Yuva Morcha, was taken out from Central Avenue in the city and was scheduled to culminate at Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters, with the gherao of the civic body. The protesters held flags and even carried giant models of mosquitoes to underscore their point.
"The state government has been deliberately trying to hush up the figures (of those killed and affected). The government and the KMC are more keen on hiding the actual numbers rather than taking steps to tackle the menace," state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who led the rally, told reporters.
Police, however, had put up a barricade near Chandni Chowk metro station to stop the rally.
According to police sources, the officers had initially tried to pacify the saffron party activists, asking them to go back.
The BJP supporters, in return, threw water bottles and stones at them, prompting police to use water cannon to dispel the crowd, the sources claimed. Police also resorted to baton charge to disperse the crowd.
Several BJP activists were detained during the clashes, the police sources added. Speaking to ANI after being detained, BJP leader Rimjhim Mitra said that the party had had prior permission to hold a protest and that the protest was peaceful.
"Male police personnel manhandled us," she alleged.
The saffron party had earlier said that it wanted to submit a deputation to Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim regarding the dengue menace and, if stopped, the party would resort to a sit-in demonstration.
As many as 44,852 dengue cases have been reported from Kolkata and its adjoining areas, a report of the state health department has revealed.
As per a government official, 25 people have died of dengue in the state since January.