Kolkata: Clashes broke out between police personnel and BJP supporters on Tuesday after efforts were made to defy prohibitory orders clamped in the vicinity of the SP's office in West Bengal's Basirhat prior to the agitation of the saffron party over allegations of sexual harassment of women in Sandeshkhali block.
The orders were enforced under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) from 6 am and 6 pm to maintain law and order, officials said.
A huge police contingent equipped with riot gear has also been deployed outside the SP's office in Basirhat to prevent any untoward incident, they said.
Sandeshkhali is under the purview of the Basirhat police district.
The state BJP, which had announced that its leaders would gherao the SP office on Tuesday to protest against the situation in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, this afternoon led by state president Sukanta Majumdar tried to break the police barricades while marching to the SP office.
The police initially tried to pacify the BJP supporters after it broke the first barricade.
But the BJP workers remained defiant, following which the police started baton charging to disperse them.
'This is a lawless situation in Bengal. The state government is trying to hide the truth,' Majumdar claimed.
Earlier in the day, Majumdar said the a party delegation would travel to Basirhat by train, as the police have set up barricades on the road in the area.
The ruling Trinamool Congress accused the BJP of trying to vitiate the atmosphere of the state.
'The BJP is trying to fish in troubled waters. The police are doing everything to maintain the situation but the BJP wants to disrupt the situation,' TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
Women in Sandeshkhali have been agitating for the last few days over alleged atrocities against them by TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his aides.
The protesters claim that Sheikh and his 'gang' captured swathes of land by force, besides sexually harassing women in the area.
Sheikh has been absconding since last month after a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that went to raid his house in Sandeshkhali in connection with a ration scam was attacked by a mob.
Meanwhile, a TMC delegation led by Irrigation Minister Partha Bhowmick on Tuesday afternoon reached Sandeshkhali and spoke to the locals.
The visit by the TMC delegation comes at a time when public anger has been mounting against the party over the protests in Sandeshkhali.
However, a delegation by state Congress was not allowed to visit the area by the police, citing prohibitory orders which were imposed there on the night of February 9.
On Monday, senior BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari and several other MLAs of the party were stopped from visiting Sandeshkhali.
A Congress delegation, too, had reportedly been prevented from visiting the trouble-torn area on Tuesday.
State Governor CV Ananda Bose visited Sandeshkhali and spoke to the agitating women on Monday.