KOLKATA: The Left Front farmers’ rally here on Thursday turned violent with participants responding to police lathicharge by pelting stones. The clash left many injured, including LF chairman Biman Bose.
Lakhs of people converged in solidarity with the CPM’s peasant wing at four points -- two within the city and two in the adjoining
Howrah district -- to march towards Nabanna, the state secretariat, but were stopped by the police.
Infuriated peasants and workers broke police barricades at certain points, sending several policemen scurrying for cover. The starting points of the march boiled over with the police and RAF firing stunt shells and using water cannons to disperse the agitating crowd. Though both sides pelted stones, Bose claimed “policemen acting as ruling Trinamool Congress workers” were to blame for the violence. State Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee described the rally as a “procession of goondas”.
“We heard Bose is injured. It was due to stones thrown by the goondas they had brought. CPM leader Mohammad Salim was carrying bricks in his pockets. There were Maoists in their rally,” Mukherjee alleged.
CPM Lok Sabha MP Salim retorted: “Mukherjee seems to be a pickpocket and that is why he knew what was in my pockets apart from my purse. He keeps pickpockets as company and is a known leader of goondas since the early 70s during the Congress regime.”
LoP in state Assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the violence, saying, “Police unnecessarily resorted to lathicharge. We are a disciplined political force and were not going to capture Nabanna like Mamata had attempted to capture Writers’ Buildings when she an Opposition leader. We were merely voicing our protests.”
A large number of policemen and Left workers including CPM Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee sustained severe injuries and fractures in the agitation.