The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the Kolkata Police Commissioner to consider within 24 hours an application by the RSS, to hold a rally in which its chief Mohan Bhagwat is expected to participate, on January 16.
Bhagwat will address the rally on the last day of the two-day internal meeting of the group’s state unit, set to begin on January 14. However, Kolkata Police are yet to respond to group’s request for permission.
Bidyut Mukherjee, the in-charge of RSS’ south Bengal units, confirmed Bhagwat would be in Kolkata to address a meeting at Brigade Parade Ground. RSS spokesperson Jishnu Basu also confirmed the rally. “Our chief Mohan Bhagwat will address a rally at Brigade Parade Ground on January 14, and he will be leaving on January 15,” Basu said.
The announcement comes at a time when RSS had filed a petition in the HC, seeking an order to the police to allow them to hold the meeting. The brigade grounds, traditionally the site of massive rallies by both Left and TMC, will be a challenge for the RSS, which is keen to find a platform to showcase their “growth in the state”, said an RSS leader.
Sardul Singh Jain, a Sangh pracharak, had moved the high court on behalf of RSS, claiming police authorities had not yet acted on their application, which had been submitted on December 29. According to the petitioner, permission was initially sought for holding the rally at Bhukailash Road in Kidderpore on January 14 – which was denied by the police.
“In a fresh application to the police, we opted to shift the meeting to Brigade. But the state government declined it too,” the petition said. While seeking a court direction to the police, the RSS said the army, which is the custodian of the ground, had given it a no-objection certificate.