Kolkata: Three BJP “supporters” have been arrested for raising the provocative slogan – “desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maro …” (shoot the traitors) – while heading for Union home minister Amit Shah’s rally in the city on Sunday, a senior Kolkata Police official said.
They were produced in a city court on Monday which sent two of them – Pankaj Prasad and Surendra Kumar Tewary – to police custody for three days, while Dhruva Basu was granted bail on grounds of age and ill-health, he said.
The city police had arrested the trio on Sunday night, hours after Shah’s rally, based on the complaint lodged by a person at the New Market police station and after identifying them from the video footage of the Sunday’s procession, he said.
The video footage was shared with the home department and the arrests were made after getting its nod, he said.
The state BJP leadership has denied the involvement of any party worker in the incident and termed it as the “handiwork of the TMC (Trinamool Congress)”.
The official said the three have been booked for promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, criminal intimidation, committing public mischief and common intention.
“This illegal act of passing provocative slogans was done by BJP supporters. It is a cognisable offence,” a senior Kolkata Police official said.
“We are conducting raids in search of other accused persons who have been identified from the video footage,” he added.
The West Bengal unit of BJP came under fire after the incident of sloganeering.
The men shouted the slogan while they were passing the Maidan Market in downtown Esplanade en route to the rally venue at nearby Shahid Minar ground.
The Union home minister was on a day-long visit to Kolkata on Sunday.
There has been a controversy over the raising of such slogans during BJP rallies during Delhi assembly polls and protests in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) due to allegations that they provoke violence.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma on Monday directed the officers-in-charge of all police stations in the city “to initiate strong legal action against any person who tries to provoke in any way which may lead to a breach in peace”, sources said.