Kolkata: In a major setback for the West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed the Bharatiya Janata Party to conduct a rally dubbed as the “rathyatra". The party had moved court after the state government denied necessary permission. The state government had cited an intelligence report, claiming that the rally will lead to communal disharmony, and hence refused permission.
However, the BJP had claimed that the denial was an attack on the party’s constitutional right to hold processions.
Previously, a division of the Calcutta High Court had asked the state government to hold discussions with party leaders to decide whether to allow the rally or not. The BJP had appealed to the bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty after the state denied permission.
On December 15, the state government wrote to the BJP claiming that intelligence reports indicate “that public perception is that the religious overtones of the yatra will be turned into communal propaganda." The letter also said that the areas proposed to be covered by the yatra were gradually turning into communally sensitive pockets.
Dilip Ghosh, president of BJP’s state unit, welcomed the court’s decision. Ghosh had refused to call this rally a “rathyatra" to avoid any religious connotation. “We might organise the rallies by the end of this month," said another senior BJP leader who asked not to be identified.
The rallies were supposed to be flagged off during the beginning of this month and were supposed to cover all Parliamentarian constituencies of the state.
According to state government officials, the state will move a division bench against the this order.