Cops attack Bengal BJP cadre, peaceful protest turns bloody

via Saugar Sengupta/PNS | Kolkata/New Delhi - Daily Pioneer published on November 30, 2010

Hundreds of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters, including the party’s West Bengal unit president Rahul Sinha, were injured on Tuesday when police lobbed teargas shells and cane-charged a massive party rally at Netaji Subhas Road, a stone’s throw from Writers’ Buildings, to protest against rising prices and a host of other issues.

The police fought a pitched battle with the BJP supporters, who proceeded for the venue from all directions as part of the “Writers’ Chalo” programme. As the surging crowd brought down a barricade, the police started lathi-charge without any warning, witnesses said. There were instances of stone pelting and crude bomb explosion in the melee, though none was injured.

Later, police detained scores of partymen, including Rahul Sinha and former State unit president Tathagata Roy, who sustained injuries. Sinha said 50 BJP activists were injured and taken to various hospitals while about 750 were arrested. The BJP would observe a ‘Black Day’ on Wednesday, Sinha said, adding that protests would be organised throughout the State. Leaders claimed that Kolkata had never seen a BJP rally of such magnitude. The blamed the CPI(M) for the blast and stone-pelting incidents “as they want to malign us”.

Condemning the unprovoked police attack, the BJP put it on the “jittery” CPI(M) regime. The police action was to stop BJP’s workers from encircling the Writers’ Building, “which could have overshadowed a nearby function, attended by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya”.

Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra, who is party’s in-charge for West Bengal, stated, “In their desperation to make the CPI(M) rally a success, police went berserk and lathi-charged peaceful BJP supporters, injuring over 1,000. Television pictures clearly show how Kolkata Police and RAF personnel went after our party workers, chasing them from lane to lane, dragging them out and mercilessly beating them to pulp.”

Mitra claimed that the police reached the BJP’s office, a little distance away from the protest venue, and lathi-charged thousands of party workers to prevent them from marching towards Writers’ Building. Protesting against the highhanded action, Mitra said that having seen the writing on the wall, the CPI(M) had become thoroughly rattled. “Such will be the wrath of West Bengal’s tortured and tormented people that they will have no place to hide,” he added.

Meanwhile, violence erupted again in Mangalkot in Burdwan district, with the CPI(M) cadre clashing with the Trinamool supporters, living a Trinamool worker dead, sources said. A large contingent of police personnel and RAF has been rushed to the spot following reports that six houses of CPI(M) supporters had been set ablaze by Trinamool workers.

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