Home / Politics / Policy /  Calcutta HC dismisses petition against Kolkata Police’s alleged reluctance for RSS rally

Kolkata: A cloud of uncertainty hangs over Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s proposed rally in Kolkata on Saturday after the Calcutta high court on Wednesday dismissed a writ petition filed by the Hindu right-wing outfit against Kolkata Police’s alleged reluctance to grant permission for it.

The petition was dismissed by justice Joymalya Bagchi on technical grounds after the lawyer for the state pointed out that the petitioner was neither the applicant for permission nor authorised by the RSS to represent it. The judge asked the RSS to apply again for the police’s permission for its rally, giving the authorities 24 hours to decide.

The RSS had initially wanted to hold the rally at the Bhukailash temple grounds in Kidderpore, a Muslim-majority neighbourhood in southwest Kolkata. But the police didn’t allow it citing concerns about law and order. Thereafter, the RSS obtained permission from the Eastern Command of the Indian Army to hold the rally at a ground controlled by it near the Shahid Minar.

ALSO READ: RSS starts spat with Kolkata police over rally venue

But the police said the grounds were already occupied by pilgrims headed for the annual Gangasagar mela. Currently, the RSS is seeking permission from Kolkata Police to hold the rally at the Brigade Parade Ground opposite the iconic Victoria Memorial—a site for large political rallies which can hold up to 100,000 people.

The police asked the RSS to obtain permission for the rally proposed at the Brigade Parade Ground from other arms of the state administration such as the Pollution Control Board and public works department. The RSS has already filed for permission from these authorities, but is sceptical about the administration’s intentions, said a key leader.

The state administration wants to disrupt Bhagwat’s much anticipated rally and is only finding excuses for not allowing it, this RSS leader said, asking not to be named. Bhagwat is set to visit Kolkata for two days this weekend. The police, according to this leader, could red-flag Brigade Parade Grounds, too.

The RSS has filed a fresh application with the Kolkata Police and will wait for a day, said Debashis Chowdhury, a leader of the RSS’s Kolkata unit, claiming that the pollution control board had already given its go-ahead to the rally at Brigade Parade Grounds. The next course of action will be decided after the police replies to the RSS’s fresh petition for permission, he added.

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