The BJP’s youth wing has decided to block a section of roads in and around Kolkata every Tuesday to recite Hanuman Chalisa to protest against what they allege as Muslims “blocking” roads to offer namaz every Friday.
The development prompted the ruling Trinamool Congress to accuse the Bharatiya Janata Party of deliberately trying to create communal tension in West Bengal.
On Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) organised an event and recited the Hanuman Chalisa near Bally Khal in neighbouring Howrah by blocking the entire stretch of a busy road for about an hour.
“We have seen major roads being blocked on Fridays for namaz. Though this causes huge traffic snarls, it has been continuing in the state for the past eight years,” BJYM Howrah district president O P Singh told reporters.
“As long as this continues, we will also recite Hanuman Chalisa every Tuesday on all the main roads near Hanuman temples. If they can do it, why can’t we do it?” Singh said.
BJP state president and Lok Sabha MP Dilip Ghosh came out in support of the BJYM’s decision. “If Muslims can do it, why can’t Hindus do it? Do Hindus living in Bengal don’t have the right to practice their religion?” he asked.
Senior TMC leader and minister Firhad Hakim hit out at the BJP over the proposed plan.
“In West Bengal, every person has the right to practice his or her religion. We believe in secularism,” Hakim said. “But the BJP is trying to flare up communal tension in the state to serve their vested political interests.”
The issue comes amid a raging debate over “Jai Shri Ram” slogans and the BJP’s accusation that the TMC was “appeasing” the Muslims in the state.