A day ahead of Ram Navami, BJP takes out armed procession in Bengal

Ram Navami celebration [File] Devotees participating in a procession to celebrate Ram Navami in Kolkata in 2017 | PTI

The Ram Navami wave by the Bharatiya Janata Party has not only spread across Bengal but also forced its rival to take note of it or join. A day before the Ram Navami to be observed across the country, BJP has kick-started the festival celebrations in a massive way and as promised, with swords and sharp knives.

In North Dinajpur, it took out a big procession which was even joined by the youths known to be having allegiance to Trinamool Congress and Congress.

Trinamool Congress secretary general, Partha Chatterjee in a strong worded statement said that none would be spared.

“Our government has decided not to allow any rally with arms. I would urge the administration to take strong legal action. I will personally see to it,” said Chatterjee, also a cabinet minister of West Bengal.

BJP has also taken out rallies in Birbhum, Midnapore and Nadia as well.

Asked about it, the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Today there have been some small rallies. Tomorrow we would celebrate birthday of Ram in a big way.”

While Chatterjee said even the Trinamool Congress workers would not be spared if they are found to be rallying with arms, the BJP has been supported by other Hindu organisations like VHP, RSS and another organisation named has Hindu Samhati, a new emerging Hindu religious group in West Bengal.

Its leader Tapan Ghosh dared Mamata Banerjee to prevent the armed rallies.

“West Bengal government would go through huge trouble if they try to prevent Hindus from celebrating Ram Navami. Hindus will not stay silent,” said Ghosh.

RSS, however, officially maintained that it would not participate or encourage any such rally with swords or sharp weapons. It will bring out processions without arms.

BJP workers today, in four different districts, were found to be brandishing sharp knives, swords and other sharp implements. Whether they are from TMC or Congress or BJP or its sister organisation, all of them were shouting slogans, “Jai Shree Ram”.

CPI(M) politbureau member, Biman Bose, who led the Ram-Rahim rally in Birbhum’s Rampurhat termed the situation in Bengal as “dangerous”.

“We want peace and secular atmosphere in the state. Such a secular atmosphere in the state which was kept in tact for long is now under threat. We would like to see sensible people condemn to what is being done in the name of Ram Navami. It is competitive communalism going on in Bengal,” said Bose.

Sources have confirmed to THE WEEK that senior leaders of the BJP would hit the streets tomorrow. While state president Ghosh would lead the biggest rally in his hometown, Midnapore, other vice presidents and general secretaries have been deployed in different parts of the streets.

“There is no act in the country where sword puja on the day of Ram Navami is banned. Let the West Bengal government prevent us. It would be responsible for any kind of untoward incident if take place,” said a senior BJP leader.

However, police did not touch anybody and allowed the procession with swords. If Chatterjee’s threat comes true, all of them would be booked later on.

The leaders of the BJP said, “Just two months to go for panchayat elections and one year to go for general elections, we will show how much powerful the BJP has become in Bengal.”