Updated January 18th, 2024 at 15:45 IST

TMC Sampriti Rally: HC Allows Harmony Rally on Same Day as Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha

The Calcutta High Court allowed the Trinamool Congress to hold a Sampriti (harmony) rally in Kolkata on January 22, the same day as the Ram Mandir ceremony.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | Image:PTI
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Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed the ruling Trinamool Congress to hold a Sampriti (harmony) rally in  Kolkata on January 22, the same day as the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The court directed the West Bengal government to ensure that peace is maintained during the rally.

The court, however, did not pass any order on a request by petitioner Suvendu Adhikari, leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly and BJP MLA, for deployment of paramilitary forces in the state on that day.

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Adhikari's counsel told the court that permission had been granted for 35 programmes in the city related to the consecration of Ram temple, from 11 am to 5 pm on January 22.

The court did not grant Adhikari’s prayer for not allowing the Sampriti rally on the same day due to concerns about potential unrest.

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The division bench, presided over by Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam, directed that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that none of the approved programmes is affected and that no speeches or statements are made during the rally that could hurt the sentiments of any religious or sectarian group.

The court ordered the organisers of the rally to strictly follow this directive and ensure that all participants are aware of it. If any violations occur, the organisers will be held responsible, the court said.

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced on Tuesday that she will lead a 'rally for harmony' in Kolkata on January 22, the same day as the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya.

Banerjee, who is also the chief of the ruling TMC, said she will start the procession from Hazra crossing in south Kolkata after a visit to Kalighat temple.

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The rally will culminate at Park Circus Maidan. Banerjee also called for similar rallies to be organised in all districts of the state.

The division bench, also consisting of Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, ruled that rallies planned in the blocks cannot take place without specific permission from police and district magistrates.

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The bench directed that routes of such rallies will have to be clearly delineated if such permission is granted with adequate safeguards and stringent conditions.

State's Advocate General Kishore Dutta argued that the petitioner's concerns about unrest and breach of peace during the Sampriti rally on January 22 were speculative.

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He said the rally is scheduled to start at 3 pm from Hazra crossing and end at Park Circus maidan, where a meeting will be held.

In his PIL, Adhikari prayed that TMC not be allowed permission to hold the rally on January 22 and sought direction from the court to the state's chief secretary, home secretary and the DGP to ensure there is no breach of peace.

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 15:45 IST