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The West Bengal Government has informed the Calcutta High Court that it cannot grant permission for the proposed ‘rath yatra’ by BJP Chief Amit Shah from Coochbehar because of fears that it may cause communal tension.

WB advocate general Kishore Dutta told the court that the Coochbehar superintendent of police had refused permission for the rath yatra that was to begin tomorrow. “It is the duty of the state government to maintain the law and order,” submitted BJP counsel Anindya Mitra on being asked by the judge as to who will take responsibility if anything untoward happens. The advocate general opposed the BJP filing a supplementary affidavit opposing the refusal of permission, saying it can either come with a fresh petition or an amendment to his petition.

The BJP had moved the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday, saying it was yet to be given permission for taking out three rallies in West Bengal, scheduled to begin from December 7. BJP President Amit Shah was scheduled to kickstart the party’s “Save Democracy Rally”, comprising three “rath yatras”, in the state. This is for the first time that the BJP has undertaken a political campaign of such a huge magnitude, covering nearly 10,000 kms, in the state. An insignificant presence in the state less than two days ago, the BJP is now the number two political outfit in the state, behind only the ruling Trinamool Congress and ahead of the once well-entrenched CPI(M) and Congress.

—India Legal Bureau

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