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Bengal govt in the dark about BJP plan after high court blocker

Administration clueless about BJP's course of action after Calcutta HC refuses to give permission for its Yatra

By Our Special Correspondent in Calcutta

  • Published 7.12.18, 3:09 AM
  • Updated 7.12.18, 3:09 AM
Banners fixed along NH-31 on the eve of BJP National President Amit Shah's rally to launch 'Save Democracy Rath Yatra', in Cooch Behar, West Bengal on Thursday, December 6.
Banners fixed along NH-31 on the eve of BJP National President Amit Shah's rally to launch 'Save Democracy Rath Yatra', in Cooch Behar, West Bengal on Thursday, December 6. PTI

The Bengal government remained clueless about the security arrangements required to be put in place in Cooch Behar after the high court refused to give permission for a 40 plus day long Rath Yatra that was scheduled to start from Cooch Behar on Friday.

“We are still not clear what the BJP will do on Friday after their plan to kick start the Rath Yatra hit a roadblock. Had there been a planned programme, it would have been easier for us to plan security arrangements,” said a senior state government official.

Sources at Nabanna said the top brass of the administration had tried to find out the plan of the BJP till late in the evening on Thursday after the party’s Rath Yatra plan was hit, but there was no intelligence input till late in the evening.

As no specific information could be gathered from the BJP camp on its plan for Friday, the situation has become critical for the administration, said some senior bureaucrats.

“If hundreds of people start coming in to the proposed place of the meeting on Friday morning, there could be a serious law and order problem. As there was no plan for such a gathering, it might catch the district authorities off guard,” said a source.

As the administration is still not clear whether the top leaders of the BJP will reach the proposed venue on meeting on Friday despite the high court order, no concrete plan could be prepared.

Sources said if the Rath Yatra were allowed, it would have been easier to make security arrangements.

“It would have a fixed route for the movement of the rath and a place for a meeting. Arranging security for such planned programmes is always easier,” said an officer.

The state government is also worried about making the arrangements for Amit Shah, the BJP national president, who is scheduled to reach Cooch Behar on Friday morning.

Shah, who enjoys a Z-plus security cover, will have security guards from CISF with him but the rest has to be arranged by the state government including arrangement of vehicles in his convoy and the overall security arrangements in the areas where he will travel.

“After being informed by Delhi about the schedule of Shah, we have already put all required arrangements in place. But the schedule is certainly going to change. As we don’t know about his changed schedule, we are yet to make alternative arrangements,” said a Nabanna official.

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