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Trinamool Congress stir slows West Bengal

A one-day shutdown called by the Trinamool Congress partially affected life in West Bengal on Friday.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 11:16 IST

A one-day shutdown called by the Trinamool Congress to protest the alleged police action against party chief Mamata Banerjee partially affected life in West Bengal on Friday.

There were reports of road and rail blockades and ransacking of buses and other vehicles by party supporters after the 12-hour dawn to dusk shutdown began at 6 am.

Stray reports of bus attacks poured in from Howrah near Kolkata and Malda district in north Bengal while train services were also affected. A senior police official said 5,000 policemen were deployed in Kolkata and its outskirts.

However, the shutdown did not affect the IT sector in Salt Lake's Sector V.

US Ambassador to India David C Mulford cancelled his press conference and other programmes and left for New Delhi though US consulate sources did not specify the reason for his change of plan.

Trinamool Congress on Thursday demonstrated in the West Bengal assembly and on the streets after Banerjee was forcibly stopped on her way to Singur for a rally against a proposed Tata Motors car project.

Banerjee reached the assembly a little later and protested for almost four hours as party workers went about ransacking vehicles in the city and other parts of the state.

Trinamool legislators also pulled down mikes, upturned and broke furniture in the state assembly. Banerjee then announced a 12-hour shutdown on Friday, with the Congress agreeing to support the strike.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya termed the Trinamool action in the assembly a "violent outburst of Mamta's political alienation and failures".

Banerjee said: "I was on my way to a political programme. There was a rally of 19 political parties. How can they stop me? It is my constitutional right."

"We have no other way to protect the rights of the people. The people's right to live is a fundamental right and so we had no option but to call a bandh," she added.

First Published: Dec 01, 2006 11:16 IST