Bajrang Dal members clashed with the police in West Bengal’s Purulia district on Tuesday after a leader of the outfit was arrested for an alleged objectionable Facebook post on the recently-concluded panchayat elections and his suspected role in violence during Ram Navami processions in March, News 18 reported.
The Hindutva group called an indefinite strike in the district in protest against the arrest of Gourab Singh and demanded his unconditional release. Its members blockaded roads, forced shops to down shutters and fought pitched battles with the police at various places. The police baton-charged the protestors, injuring 15 to 20 people.
The police produced Singh before a district court on Tuesday morning. The court rejected his bail application and sent him to judicial custody for 14 days, Sangbad Pratidin reported. “We will never force anyone to observe the bandh,” claimed Suraj Sharma, the group’s district coordinator. “The common people have witnessed how the police are torturing us. The police are responsible for fomenting trouble in the district.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s media cell head in West Bengal, Sourish Mukherjee, condemned the arrest. “We have surrounded the local police station and have demanded his immediate and unconditional release,” he said. “Although he was booked under cyber-crime and in connection with Ram Navami processions, we smell conspiracy because the BJP emerged as a key player in Purulia in the panchayat polls.”
The Bajrang Dal is reportedly planning to organise a protest rally in Kolkata on Wednesday.