Left Front cadres and supporters fought pitched battles with the police on the main streets and in the alleys leading to Lalbazar on Thursday, leaving dozens of CPI(M) and its allies activists bleeding. Several men and women in uniform, too, sustained injuries in the clashes that left large parts of central Kolkata paralysed for hours.
In fact, the Left led by the CPI(M), decimated after the assembly polls in 2011, has been hitting the streets all over again with some regularity to claw back into political relevance. Last month, the Left organized a march to Nabanna -- Nabanna gheroa -- the new seat of the government, to highlight the inefficiency and corruption of the Mamata Banerjee regime. On Thursday, it was the Left’s ‘ Lalbazar Abhiyan’, which brought thousands of supporters and leaders out on the streets. Many left with blood all over their faces, having braved the cops’ lathi charge.
Buoyed by the success of the march to the state secretariat on August 27 and ensuring a total shutdown in Bengal on September 2, the Left Front organised a demonstration outside the Kolkata Police headquarters to highlight the state s dismal law and order situation on Thursday.
The central business district of the city turned into a war zone from 5 to 8 pm, during which Left supporters hurled rotten eggs, tomatoes and other missiles at the police, who charges at the crowds with lathis.
Police thrashed us brutally. Even women were not spared. More than 300 of our supporters were injured. Rupa Bagchi, Jhuma Das and Dipak Dasgupta were injured,” said Left Front chairman Biman Bose, who was present at the spot. Dipak Dasgupta, a central committee member of the CPI(M), had to be admitted to hospital.
“The agitators provoked us. They threw stones, rotten eggs at us. Some policemen were also beaten up,” said Rajiv Mishra, joint CP, headquarters, Kolkata Police.
“The lathi charge was conducted at the instruction of the chief minister,” said Md Salim, politburo member of CPI(M).