Kolkata: Several senior BJP leaders were arrested on Thursday while they brought out a rally protesting a "fatwa" issued by a Muslim cleric against state party chief Dilip Gosh for his "derogatory" remarks against state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque Noor-ur Rahman Barkati gave the "fatwa" on Monday against Ghosh who had termed Banerje as "semi-mad" and said she could have been "held by her hair" and thrown out by the BJP government if it so desired when the Chief Minister held a demonstration at Delhi's Jantar Mantar against demonetisation last month.
The rally, organised to condemn Barakti, started close to the BJP state office in central Kolkata, with the BJP earlier declaring it would end outside the Tipu Sultan Mosque.
To prevent any untoward incidents, police put up barricades on Central Avenue and asked the BJP leaders including Ghosh not to proceed, but as they refused to listen, police arrested them.
The BJP leaders, however, alleged that police had used "brute force" to stop the "peaceful rally" and called it yet another instance of the Banerjee government's "politics of appeasement".
A BJP leader claimed that Ghosh was injured when police tried to forcibly stop the rallyists. BJP state lawmaker Swadhin Sarkar and its state general secretary Deboshree Chowdhury, besides actor-turned politician Locket Chatterjee were arrested.