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Controversy over Mamata's intervention

kolkata Updated: Nov 08, 2011 20:48 IST

Controversy surrounded the intervention of chief minister Mamata Banerjee after the clash between police and youths during a religious procession, as she came under attack from opposition CPI-M and BJP.

The fiery Trinamool leader is reported to have visited a Kolkata police station late on Sunday evening and allegedly forced the release of two members of her party picked up by police after the clashes a few hours earlier.

Police on its part said it was yet to make any arrest for Sunday's clash at Bhowanipore between youths taking out a procession of Goddess Jagadharti for immersion and the police and asserted that Banerjee's intervention was limited to pacifying an angry mob.

According to police, the processionists turned violent, pelted stones, ransacked the Bhowanipore police station and even tried to set police vehicles on fire after they were asked not to burst high decibel crackers before a hospital.

The police resorted to laticharge which worsened the situation and the chief minister whose house in nearby and Commissioner of Kolkata Police RK Pachnanda and other senior officials had to intervene to pacify the mob.

"An FIR has been lodged suo motu by the police against unknown people, but so there has been no arrest, deputy commissioner of Police (South) DP Singh said.

"We have identified some people who took part in the ransack, rioting and arson and are trying to find them," Singh said.

Asked whether there was any intervention by the chief minister, Singh said "The investigation is on and so far there has been no arrest. So, the question of intervention by the chief minister to release the arrested doesn't arise."

CPI(M) and BJP slammed the chief minister for allegedly pressuring the police to release two persons detained by the police for rioting "in violation of the law.

"It is reprehensible that the chief minister, who holds the home (Police) department, herself stormed into a police station to force the police to release two detained persons," CPI(M) central committee member Md Selim told reporters in Kolkata.

"The chief minister led her party workers for the release of the detained persons who are her brother's associates, from the police station by force," the CPI(M) leader alleged.

He also alleged that the chief minister, who advocated anti-pollution steps and earlier asked the police to curb sound pollution during the pujas, "went against rules and regulations."

State BJP president Rahul Sinha led a party delegation to governor M K Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan complaining that the chief minister 'pressurised' the police to release those detained by the police.

The party sought the Governor's intervention alleging that the chief minister had threatened police officers if they were not released.