The Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed the Bharatiya Janata Party to hold its statewide public rallies for which the West Bengal government had denied permission, ANI reported. The High Court asked the administration to ensure there is no breach of law and order.
The rallies are expected to cover all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal. The BJP has reportedly proposed to hold “rath yatras” from Cooch Behar, Sagar Island and Tarapith on December 22, December 24 and December 26.
A single-bench judge gave lawyers appearing for the BJP 15 minutes to make their final argument in court on Thursday, while the state government got 10 minutes to present their case, The Indian Express reported. Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty directed the BJP to inform the superintendents of police of the districts where its rallies shall enter at least 12 hours in advance.
Chakraborty asked the party to ensure that the rallies are conducted according to the law and do not affect vehicular traffic. He also added that the BJP will be responsible for any damage or loss of public property caused during the yatras.
BJP President Amit Shah was scheduled to launch the statewide programme at a public rally in Cooch Behar district on December 7. The BJP moved the High Court after the state government did not respond to its requests for permission. The court asked the state government and the BJP leadership to discuss the matter, but the government refused permission. The BJP then moved the High Court with a fresh plea.
While refusing permission on December 15, the Trinamool Congress-led government had cited intelligence reports that purportedly warned of possible communal violence in areas where the party planned to hold the rallies. “Intelligence reports indicate that public perception is that the religious overtones of the yatra will be turned into communal propaganda,” the state government had told the BJP in a letter.
During a hearing on Tuesday, the High Court had asked the state government to submit a video recording of the meeting held between its officials and BJP leaders.