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Anti-CAA protesters, BJP supporters clash during Rahul Sinha’s visit at Kolkata book fair

KOLKATA: A scuffle broke out between anti-CAA protesters and BJP supporters on Saturday when a senior saffron party leader visited two stalls of a BJP mouthpiece and the VHP at the International Kolkata Book Fair.

The two sides allegedly exchanged blows after West Bengal BJP leader Rahul Sinha entered a stall around 4.30 pm.

A section of Left-backed student bodies, including the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Students Association (AISA), surrounded Sinha when he visited the stall and raised slogans against the new citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Bidhannagar Police confirmed the incident and said five protesters were detained.

VHP supporters claimed that a worker of the outfit suffered injuries in the tussle.

“A karyakarta, Somesh, was beaten up by Left goons who created disturbances in front of our stall where a large number of people had gathered on seeing Sinha there. We showed utmost restraint,” personnel at the VHP stall told PTI.

“The people have discarded them (the Left parties). We are not fools to allow them to steal the limelight by getting into a fight with them. Our fight is with the TMC,” Sinha, who left the venue after the incident, said.

Later in the night, some students, including women, went to Bidhannagar North police station to protest the detention of five protesters, some of whom belonged to the Jadavpur University, Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate sources said.

As there was a commotion inside the police station, the personnel removed the protesters from the premises.

Ushashi Paul, SFI’s Jadavpur University unit leader, alleged that the police misbehaved with the protesters, which included women.

She threatened to stage a sit-in outside the police station till the five protesters are released and the police “apologise for their behaviour”.

Organisers and police said the incident did not disrupt the book fair which had a large turnout on a penultimate day.