BJP chants Chalisa, namaz room row reaches HC

Express News Service

RANCHI: Police on Wednesday resorted to a lathi charge to stop BJP leaders who were on their way to gherao the Jharkhand Assembly against the allotment of a separate room for offering ‘namaz’ in the newly constructed Assembly building. Before the lathi charge, water cannons were also used to stop BJP workers who set off towards the Jharkhand Assembly despite prohibitory orders being issued by the district administration in the wake of the ongoing monsoon session.

According to senior BJP leader Gurvinder Singh Sethi, as many as 26 party workers sustained injuries including Party’s Women Front President Arti Kujur, BJP OBC Front President Amardeep Yadav, BJP Rural Front office-bearer Mahaveer Singh, woman worker Neelam Choudhary and 22 others.

“Out of the 26 injured persons, six have been critically injured while the others have received minor injuries. Two of them are undergoing treatment at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), while the remaining others are at Paras Hospital in Dhurwa,” said Sethi.

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In an order issued by Assembly Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahto on September 2, it was stated that room number TW 348 in the new Assembly building has been allotted to offer namaz. The BJP objected to the decision saying that a separate room should also be allotted to Hindus in the state Assembly to recite Hanuman Chalisa.

The lathi charge took place after the BJP workers, led by BJP legislature party leader Babulal Marandi and State President and Rajya Sabha member Deepak Prakash reached the second barricade near Jagannathpur temple, close to the Jharkhand Assembly, and tried break it despite repeated warnings by the district administration.

Following the lathi charge, prominent leaders like Babulal Marandi, Deepak Prakash and former Chief Minister Rabhubar Das sat there on dharna alleging that women and unarmed workers were beaten up mercilessly on the direction of the state goverment. Marandi also alleged that the police tried to hit him also, but his security personnel saved him from the batons.

“Everyone has the right to protest peacefully in a democracy. BJP workers from all over the state had come here to meet the Assembly Speaker and tell him that India not being a religious state, governance should be done as per constitutional arrangements which he has actually dishonoured by taking an unconstitutional decision,” said Marandi. The protest will continue till the notification issued by the Assembly Speaker is withdrawn, he added.

“The Assembly is a temple of democracy and efforts should not to communalise it. We wanted to demand the same to the Assembly Speaker,” said Marandi. He further added that their movement could not be suppressed by a lathi-charge. According to Marandi, had he not been given CRPF protection, his head would not have been intact.

State BJP chief Deepak Prakash said this was an attack not only on BJP workers but on the feelings of 3.5 crore people of Jharkhand. Meanwhile, amid protests, three bills — Jharkhand Municipal (Amendment) Bill 2021, Jharkhand Goods and Service Bill 2021 and Jharkhand State Employment of Local Candidates Bill 2021 were passed by the Jharkhand Assembly. The BJP members were in the well when the Speaker rushed through the bills.