'Coloured water used to identify people later': WB Chief Secy Alapan Bandopadhyay refutes claims of chemical being used in water cannons

The West Bengal government on Thursday said that the BJP's march to the state secretariat Nabanna was carried out without permission and it was held against permissible parameters of the Pandemic Act.

Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay praised the police for controlling the situation patiently despite instigations.

Asked about the blue coloured water sprayed on BJP workers from water cannons during the march, Bandopadhyay said it is the same colour that is used during the Holi festival.

"It is an international practice. Coloured water is used during such agitations so that people can be identified after dispersals," he said.

Around 89 people were detained in Kolkata and 24 in Howrah in connection with the agitation, the chief secretary said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has lost people's confidence and there is no democracy left in West Bengal, the BJP said on Thursday as it hit out at the TMC supremo over clashes between saffron party workers and police during protests in Kolkata and Howrah.

BJP president J P Nadda in a tweet said the party's struggle to save the rich glory of Bengal will continue.

Parts of Kolkata and adjoining Howrah resembled a battle zone on Thursday as BJP workers and supporters clashed with police, hurling stones and blocking roads with burning tyres, to protest a string of killings of saffron party workers.

"We stand with the people of Bengal despite the brazen misuse of state power by Mamata didi. Our brave BJP Yuva Morcha 'karyakartas' compelled her to close the Secretariat. This is an admission that she has lost public confidence," Nadda said.

Clashes erupted at several places in the two cities in West Bengal during a march called by the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, to Nabanna, the state secretariat, when they tore down barricades, officials said.

Police personnel in riot gear burst teargas shells, beat up agitators and used water cannons to break up the protests which are still raging in Kolkata and Howrah.

"There is no democracy in West Bengal. Those who protest against the government are implicated in cases or harassed by police or murdered," senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters at the party's headquarters here.

He condemned the "barbaric treatment" of his party workers by the state police.

"I would like to say to Mamata Banerjee and her party that if they think they can stop BJP's progress in West Bengal by lathi-charges and atrocities by the police, I assure them, they would fail in their attempts," Prasad said.

He asserted that Banerjee and her party are resorting to violence as they are losing political ground in the state and said that there is feedback from the ground that the BJP will form the next government in West Bengal.

"Is protest allowed in Mamata Banerjee's reign? People who raise their voice against her party are killed. The only reason behind this is TMC losing their political ground in the state," Prasad said.

He said so far 115 BJP workers have been killed in the state.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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