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The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday asked the BJP to give three tentative dates for the ‘Rath Yatra’ that the party chief Amit Shah is to undertake across the state. The HC has also asked BJP for the video footage of the meeting held between party delegates and the state government officials on December 13 and fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow.

Yesterday, the party had moved the HC with a fresh plea challenging the West Bengal government’s denial of permission to the party’s proposed yatra in the state. The state government had held a meeting on matter with a three-member BJP team as per the high court’s direction, following which it informed the party on Saturday that permission could be granted for the ‘yatra’.

Lawyers representing the BJP then mentioned the matter before the court of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and sought permission to file a fresh petition. Justice Chakraborty allowed the BJP to file the petition and asked its lawyer to serve copies of it to the state government and other respondents in the matter.

The party had proposed to take out three yatras in different parts of the state ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2019. The BJP moved a division bench of the Calcutta High Court after a single-judge bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty refused permission to the party to hold the yatra. The division bench had on December 7 directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police to hold a meeting with three representatives of the BJP by December 12, and take a decision on the matter by December 14.

The dates of the meeting and decision-making were later postponed by a day each by the court. In the letter to BJP on December 15, the West Bengal government said, “The areas proposed to be covered by the yatra are, because of publicity and propaganda, gradually turning into communally sensitive pockets. Intelligence reports indicate that public perception is that the religious overtones of the yatra will be turned into communal propaganda.”

According to the original schedule submitted by the BJP, party national president Amit Shah was to kick-start the campaign titled Save Democracy Rally from Cooch Behar district on December 7, from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9, and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district on December 14.

—India Legal Bureau

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