In Kolkata, Left parties march to secretariat turns violent

Posted May 25, 2017

Ten district police personnel were injured while trying to prevent the Left agitators from marching to the high-security secretariat.

The rally was heading towards Nabanna to protest against a slew of issues, including farmers' distress, unemployment in the state and maintaining communal harmony. Although senior police officers were on the field, situation went out of their control fast.

The clashes between the Left-wing protestors with the West Bengal Police, during the "Nabanno Abhijan" march, turned violent yesterday.

217 people, including 11 Left MLAs, were arrested in the twin cities and at the secretariat in connection with the violence and violation of prohibitory orders during the agitation. But police did not let us in.

Nearly two years since a march to the state secretariat Nabanna in August 2015 by Left peasants' organisations turned violent after police blocked their way, strict arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward situation during a similar rally tomorrow.

Chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, was out of the city.

The Left had announced that it would lead a farmers' rally to the state secretariat to protest against the policy of the Mamata Banerjee government.

Police, using water canons and and lobbing tear gas shells, managed to temporarily disperse the Left workers, but they soon regrouped and confronted police again, shouting "Inquilab Zindabad" and holding aloft the red flags.

CPI-M state secretary and politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra and Left Front chairman Biman Bose staged a sit-in at Mayo Road in protest against the police action. Police, however, said they were ready to tackle the challenge.

Claiming the rally's success, Dr Mishra declared that the Left would observe a statewide protest on Tuesday. "Our protest will continue till the state government apologises and takes action on those police officers who were involved". But Trinamul secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, "The CPI (M) signboard is now in crisis".

However, there was high drama even before the scheduled start of the march, as a number of Left Front lawmakers including its legislature party leader Sujan Chakraborty reached Nabanna around noon and shouted slogans at its gate, demanding they be allowed in.