Left-Cong activists clash with police during march over jobs; 12-hour Bengal bandh called on Friday
Left and Congress activists demanding jobs clashed with the police in central Kolkata's Esplanade area Thursday as they tried to break barricades on their way to state secretariat Nabanna, resulting in injuries to several participants and also the police.
Condemning the brutal attacks on students and young men and women by the "police force of the Trinamool Congress government", Left Front Chairman Biman Bose announced a 12- hour West Bengal bandh by the Left and associate parties from 6 am on Friday in protest.
"The way police unleashed atrocities on the participants in the march to Nabanna, it created a situation somewhat akin to the historic Jallianwala Bagh incident," Bose said in a statement.
The Left Front chairman claimed that more than 150 students and young men and women were injured in the police action while participating in the 'Nabanna abhiyan' programme of the student and youth wings of the Left and Congress demanding jobs and better education facilities.
Bose said that the bandh call has been discussed with the Left Front constituents and the Congress party, with which it has formed an electoral alliance for the coming assembly elections in West Bengal. The Left-Congress allaince has come up to make the Bengal polls a triangular fight with the TMC and the BJP.
The march to Nabanna started at College Street but was stopped by the police on SN Banerjee Road in the Esplanade area. As the activists tried to head further by breaking the heavy metal barricades, police used water cannons. Amid slogans against the Mamata Banerjee government, the Left-wing youths and students tried to climb up the barricades, following which police began a baton-charge and also fired tear-gas shells.
Some police officials were also reported to be injured in the clashes. CPI(M) politburo member Mohammad Salim alleged that the Mamata Banerjee government is totally dependent on the police force to suppress protests and demands by the people.
"Why is she afraid of receiving a memorandum from jobless youths," he asked in a press conference at the CPI(M) headquarters here after the incident.
Condemning the attacks on the agitators, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya said that the Trinamool Congress government has lost the people's faith and violent suppression of protests is an indication of that.