Days after the turban controversy over the BJP’s march to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s office, another controversy is brewing over the colored water that was sprayed on protesters by police from water cannons That day. West Bengal BJP MP Locket Chatterjee wrote to Union Home Secretary Amit Shah asking him to ask the Government of Bengal for a report on the chemical used in the water used to disperse the BJP rallies in Kolkata and Howrah on October 8.
“It was a spectacle very similar to that of China where political opponents are gagged and arrested by chemical weapons and are not allowed to protest against the atrocities of the ruling regime,” Ms Chatterjee wrote in her letter of 13 October.
Union Minister Amit Shah was due to visit Bengal shortly, but that trip was canceled. Instead, BJP chairman JP Nadda will be in North Bengal on Monday.
On October 8, purple colored water was sprayed by water cannons on protesters during the Nabanna march or “abhiyan”. Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay had said “Holi colors” were used. The practice was common around the world, he said, to identify protesters for follow-up action if needed.
But BJP leader Yuva Morcha, Tejasvi Surya, who had traveled to Kolkata to participate in the protest, said he would demand an explanation for the matter because the dye had affected party workers, some of whom must have been admitted to hospital, apparently with nausea and shortness of breath.
“The chemical described by police as a tool to identify protesters made people sick and short of breath. Many workers were so sick that they had to be admitted to hospital, including our vice president Raju Banerjee.” , wrote Ms Chatterjee. “It was a whole new spectacle in the history of Indian politics where harmful chemicals were used to disperse the peaceful protesting crowd.”
A delegation made up of BJP lawmakers also met with the National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday, urging it to send a team to Kolkata to investigate the matter.
“To highlight the excesses of the police on October 8 during the Nabanna Cholo protests, a delegation made up of Saumitra Khan (MP), Kabir Shankar Bose (lawyer) and I met with the NHRC in Delhi. We urged the Commission to send a team to Kolkata to investigate the matter on a priority basis, ”tweeted BJP MP Rajya Sabha, Swapan Dasgupta.