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Video Shows How Kolkata Police Van Was Set On Fire, BJP Says “Cops Or Trinamool’s Jihadis Did It”

Video shows the moment a man started the fire in a Kolkata police vehicle.


The setting on fire of a police vehicle has become a focal point of BJP’s protest in Kolkata that turned violent yesterday, with videos showing it being looted, its windshields and windows smashed, and a man lighting fire at close range.

National Head of Youth Congress BS Srinivas tweeted a close-up video showing a man in a saffron T-shirt using a cigarette lighter to set fire to a towel inside the police van. “Just identify, which ‘nationalist rioters’ from which party are burning police jeeps in West Bengal?” he wrote, in Hindi.

He tweeted another video showing men waving BJP flags and searching the police vehicle. In the caption, he scoffed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s earlier statements: “I’m sure the Prime Minister will recognize these rioters by their clothes and flags, and in his heart he will never be able to forgive them.”

The BJP denied that its workers started the fire. “The police can do it themselves,” said opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, “Our workers were not carrying weapons. Perhaps the jihadists came from the Trinamool Congress and carried out the violence.” The party claims that the violence started at the provocation by the police.

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Adhikari was among the leaders detained yesterday after violence broke out near Howrah train station as police tried to prevent the BJP’s protest march against the alleged corruption of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool government.

In addition to buses and boats, the BJP had also arranged special trains for supporters to reach Howrah, from where ‘Nabanna Abhijan’ – a march to the Nabanna or state secretariat – would be held.

But the police had erected barricades, which the BJP men broke through, leading to clashes with the police. Protesters threw rocks while police used a water cannon and tear gas. Traffic on the iconic Howrah Bridge was also stopped. There were arrests of BJP leaders in the Hastings area and a clash between party officials and police outside Raniganj train station.

The Calcutta Supreme Court later requested a report from the Secretary of State for the Interior by September 19.

Meanwhile, Trinamool congress leader Sougata Roy said police showed “exemplary restraint” even when “BJP workers provoked the police to open fire”. He also hit back at the BJP’s accusation that Mamata Banerjee runs a “dictatorship”.

Suvendu Adhikari, Mrs. Banerjee’s assistant turned supreme rival, had accused her of leading a dictatorship “like North Korea”.

As the protest was still going on and videos of violence went viral, Trinamool’s Sougata Roy said: “Where did Mamata Banerjee show the dictatorship? The program (BJP meeting) has been going on since noon. The police did not shoot anyone” .

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“The BJP workers randomly threw stones and bricks. They injured several police officers, including IPS officers. They broke cars in the Burrabazar area… Very few BJP people were injured. screen you can see BJP workers throwing stones,” he said.



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