Rage against Mamata, media at Kolkata hospital fire | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Rage against Mamata, media at Kolkata hospital fire

kolkata Updated: Dec 09, 2011 14:12 IST

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The presence of Mamata Banerjee and the media only triggered further chaos and resentment at the fire-ravaged AMRI hospital on Friday, as police even resorted to batons to disperse the crowds.

Furious families of patients said the movement of ambulances had been hit after the West Bengal chief minister arrived.

Banerjee came to the narrow lane leading to the hospital - co-founded by private firms along with the West Bengal government - around 9.45am, and immediately a stream of people as also mediapersons rushed towards her.

Police personnel, at their wits end after having spent hours controlling the mob, which was venting its ire at the hospital authorities, tried to put up a cordon around the chief minister.

But as the surging crowd became uncontrollable, leading to a near stamplede, the lawkeepers wielding the baton, which worsened the situation.

Banerjee, holding a mike, was seen shouting at the top of her voice at the police.

"Stop it. What is this? No lathicharge. No lathicharge. Have you come here to beat up people?"

Police personnel finally succeeded in clearing some area for the chief minister to address the relatives of victims.

However, with photojournalists, electronic media personnel and people crowding around Banerjee, the road leading to the hospital was blocked.

"Because Mamata is here, the ambulances cannot go towards the annexe building. Please ask her to shift to another road," shouted a distraught relative of a victim.

A political activist was seen whispering something in Banerjee's ears and she immediately moved some distance away, clearing the entrance to the Annexe building.

Banerjee then went near the relatives and said 40 bodies have been kept at the SSKM Hospital. "Police will take you there. They will escort you there by forming a barricade around you."

Crestfallen and harassed at not receiving information for hours about patients, some relatives poured out their frustration.

"My father was admitted there. I have not got any news about him. And now the chief minister comes. And you (the media) are busy clicking her photos? Please give a thought to what I am going through and go away."

A photojournalist was bashed up by residents and relatives of patients and a couple of cameras smashed.