Kolkata burns over Nandigram, Taslima
Around 40 people have been injured before the army is called in to restore calm, reports HT Bureau.india Updated: Nov 22, 2007 02:11 IST
Complete anarchy prevailed across large parts of the city on Wednesday as angry mobs hurled brickbats and bottles and burnt over a dozen vehicles in protest against the developments in Nandigram, as well as the continued presence in the city of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.
Around 40 people, most of them policemen, were injured before the army was called in to restore calm. More than 60 people have been arrested and night curfew clamped in the affected areas.
It started with a demonstration by a local group, the All India Minorities Forum (AIMF), which had been campaigning for some time against renewing Nasreen’s Indian visa. With around 70 per cent of the population in Nandigram comprising Muslims, the AIMF on Tuesday added the violence-hit region’s cause to its list.
The protestors soon went on the rampage, clashing with the police, and even targeting the CPM office in Beniapukur. The heart of Kolkata’s business district — including Park Circus, AJC Bose Road and Ripon Street — was badly affected.
While AIMF chairman Idris Ali denied involvements in the day’s violence calling it “a conspiracy”, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said, “The forum’s leadership acted in utter irresponsibility, resulting in violent clashes, intense brick-batting, injuring many policemen and civilians, even though the police acted with tremendous restraint.”
“The Army has been called to prevent violence from spreading or taking a communal turn," Bhattacharjee said. State home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray, however, had exonerated Ali earlier in the day. "We are investigating if the violence was pre-planned," he said. "The agitation by AIMF was mostly peaceful and those arrested from their rally at Park Circus were later released." "The police had to use teargas to control the mob but there has been no firing," Ray clarified."
Beniapukur Lane and Ripon Street remained trouble spots till late in the evening, as demonstrators, holed up in them, would not let the police or the Army enter.
"The jawans conducted flag marches in at least eight different places. If required there will be more tomorrow," said an army spokesman.
Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi in an appeal to the citizens called the violence reprehensible and urged people to help restore harmony.