GUWAHATI, Dec 9 - Police today resorted to blank firing, tear-gas shelling, water cannons and lathi charge to disperse BJP members who had assembled in the capital city to take part in the party�s �Dispur gherao� programme.
BJP leaders were also detained at many other places.
Police claimed that the BJP had no permission from the district administration for staging the protest and action was taken to maintain peace and order.
Senior BJP leader MP Ramen Deka, party functionary Bijoy Gupta and many others were injured during the standoff with the police, who tried to prevent the protesters from proceeding towards the Assam Assembly. While Ramen Deka was admitted to the GMCH, Bijoy Gupta and others were admitted to the Down Town Hospital.
The entire Dispur Last Gate area and the stretch of GS Road from Super Market to Down Town Hospital looked like a battle zone with armed police putting up barricades and using rubber bullets, tear gas shells and batons to stop the BJP members.
Earlier, party members had started pouring into the city from various parts of the State. While some were stopped from reaching the city at various locations of the State and some picked up at the Guwahati railway station, others managed to reach the Khanapara Veterinary Field which was the point of congregation.
From the Khanapara field, the BJP members marched towards Dispur; one group of protesters, led by Ramen Deka and Himanta Biswa Sarma, reached Dispur Last Gate via Jayanagar, while the other group of protesters was stopped on the GS Road near the Down Town Hospital.
At both points police took to blank firing and lobbed tear-gas shells.
A chaotic situation prevailed in the area with traffic coming to a standstill. The residential areas too witnessed a panicky situation as intermittent round of blank firing frightened the citizens.
Meanwhile, the saffron party has condemned the police action and said that today�s development highlighted the intolerance of the Tarun Gogoi Government.
State BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal said that the BJP�s programme today was successful with the support of the people of Assam. Sonowal regretted that the Tarun Gogoi Government tried to suppress the peaceful protest of the BJP. �Today�s development is proof that this Government does not have any respect for democratic voices,� said Sonowal.
It needs to be mentioned here that this protest programme was scheduled to highlight the alleged misrule, incompetence and corruption of the Tarun Gogoi Government. The issues that the party has raised include failure of the Government to streamline the PDS, corruption at all levels and in all departments, failure of the Government to address the problems of the small tea growers, failure to utilize Central funds, etc.