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Amit Shah's rath yatra hits permission wall in Bengal

Mamata Banerjee government says police fear communal tension

By PTI in Calcutta

  • Published 6.12.18, 2:00 PM
  • Updated 6.12.18, 2:00 PM
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah Telegraph file picture

The Bengal government has told Calcutta High Court that the proposed rath yatra to be flagged off by BJP president Amit Shah in Cooch Behar should not be allowed on the grounds that it might inflame communal tension.

The state's stand was made clear by advocate-general Kishore Dutta to Calcutta High Court on Thursday.

Dutta told the court that the Cooch Behar superintendent of police had refused permission for Friday's yatra. The state submitted that it might cause communal tension.

When the judge asked who would take responsibility if anything untoward happened, BJP counsel Anindya Mitra said it was the duty of the state government to maintain law and order.

The advocate-general opposed the BJP's attempt to file a supplementary affidavit opposing the refusal of permission, saying that it can either come with a fresh petition or an amendment to the petition. 

Leaders of the ruling Trinamul Congress in Cooch Behar have invoked Madanmohan, the most revered local deity housed in a temple built by the Cooch Behar royals, ahead of the rath yatra that BJP chief Amit Shah is expected to flag off on Friday.

“In Cooch Behar, only Lord Madanmohan rides a chariot,” is the refrain among ruling party leaders, including minister and district Trinamul chief Rabindranath Ghosh. “As Cooch Behar residents, we cannot think of a Rath Yatra with anybody other than Lord Madanmohan. The BJP yatra will be a flop show,” Ghosh said on Wednesday.

The Madanmohan temple was set up by King Nripendra Narayan in 1890. Every year, the deity is taken out on a chariot during Rath Yatra celebrations.

BJP leaders accused Trinamul of trying to exploit sentiments by referring to the deity. “This is an attempt by Trinamul to mislead the people. All of us revere the deity. Our party president Amit Shah will offer puja at the temple before flagging off the rath,” said district BJP chief Malati Rava.

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