Calcutta high court denies permission to Amit Shah for rath yatra in West Bengal

File photo: Amit Shah, BJP President, in Shivamogga, Karnataka. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team Kolkata, West Bengal, India Dec 06, 2018, 07.52 PM (IST)

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday refused to grant permission to BJP taking out ‘rath yatra’ in Coochbehar, citing an intelligence report fearing communal disharmony.

The rath yatra was scheduled to be flagged off by party president Amit Shah.

Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty set aside BJP’s appeal after a day-long hearing in a tense courtroom, saying it would not be appropriate to give green light to take out ‘rath yatra’ at this juncture keeping in mind the security arrangement in 42 constituencies the rally will travel.

The bench will hear the case again on January 9.

The BJP campaign was scheduled to begin from Cooch Behar district in the north on December 7, from Kakdwip in the South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.

State advocate general Kishore Dutta told the court that the Cooch Behar superintendent of police refused permission for the BJP president’s rath yatra from Friday.

The state government submitted that it might cause communal tension in the district.

Dutta said the district has a history of communal issues and that there was information that some “communal provocateurs” and rowdy elements had become active there. The SP’s refusal letter also noted that several top BJP leaders would come to Coochbehar, as also people from other states, stating that these may affect the communally sensitive district.

The refusal of permission was an administrative decision in view of the ground situation, the AG said, adding that “details of apprehension” cannot be spelt out in open court due to their sensitive nature and he can submit these to the court in a sealed cover if directed. The BJP told the court that it will hold peaceful rallies.

(With inputs from PTI)

Story highlights

The BJP campaign was scheduled to begin from Cooch Behar district in the north on December 7, from Kakdwip in the South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from the Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.