Thousands of Trinamool supporters take part in protest

October 20th, 2008 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 20 (IANS) Traffic across large parts of central Kolkata was thrown out of gear as several thousand activists of West Bengal’s main opposition Trinamool Congress took part in a siege on the city police headquarters at Lal Bazar Monday.Despite apprehensions of violence, the programme passed off peacefully.

Amid heavy security arrangements, the Trinamool workers assembled at the Metro Channel in the heart of the city protesting against police “high-handedness” and the “unlawful” arrest of a party activist Oct 5.

Shouting slogans against West Bengal’s Left Front government and its major constituent Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), they walked two kilometres through the main thoroughfares Chittaranjan Avenue and B.B. Ganguly Street before converging at Phears Lane.

More than 10,000 policemen, including armed force, Rapid Action Force personnel, intelligence sleuths, plainclothesman, and the Special Action Force members were deployed to prevent any breach of peace.

Though Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee stayed away from the programme, all other important party leaders took part.

Addressing the workers, leader of opposition in the state assembly Partha Chatterjee said his party’s struggle was against the government’s efforts to use the police to quell democratic protests.

“Forty four thousand false cases have been slapped against the opposition activists. Whoever opposes this government, is thrown in prison,” he said.

Chatterjee, who had a bitter argument with city police commissioner Goutam Mohan Chakraborty Oct 5 over the arrest of party activist Swarup Biswas, warned the police not to be partial.

“But I know you have to be so under the present regime of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee”.

Taking on Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata for splashing advertisements in newspapers eulogising Chief Minister Bhattacharjee and decrying Trinamool and Banerjee, he said: “Some people are telling the CPI-M that I will even advertise for you. You only have to finish off Mamata.”

Chatterjee issued a warning to the government that it could not stop protests by the use of brute force. “Wherever we find people are being tortured, we will raise our voice. We cannot be deterred by batons or bullets.”

With traffic coming to a halt in central Kolkata, students returning home were greatly inconvenienced. Some ambulances were also seen stranded in the snarl.

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