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Bengal Government Auditorium Scraps Event Starring RSS Boss Mohan Bhagwat

Kolkata:  An event in Kolkata featuring RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is suddenly left without a venue with a prominent government-run auditorium cancelling the booking just weeks before the event.

The Mahajati Sadan was booked in May by the Sister Nivedita Mission for a programme on the first week October. The mission trust claims that last week, it was asked whether it had police permission to organize the October 3 function.

When the Trust went to the police, it was reportedly told that no permission is needed for indoor programmes. The organization claims that finally, it was told that the Mahajati Sadan’s audio system would be under repairs between October 3 and 5.

The Sister Nivedita Mission says it has a receipt for the amount it paid in June to book its date at the Sadan, which is run by the state’s Mamata Banerjee government.

In January, the Kolkata police had denied permission to Mr Bhagwat’s rally, saying it was in the interest of “general security and public order”. In a setback to the state government, however, the Calcutta High Court allowed the RSS chief to hold the public meeting at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground.

This is not the first such run-in between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.

The state government had blocked another rally to be addressed by Mr Bhagwat in 2014. The same year, BJP president Amit Shah was also denied permission for a rally in Kolkata but it was held as scheduled after the Calcutta High Court overruled the decision.