| (Top) Idris Ali and Sultan Ahmed: Unrepentant
Calcutta, Nov. 23: The Congress today suspended Idris Ali for his role in Wednesday’s street riots even as Mamata Banerjee came under increasing pressure to act against Sultan Ahmed, who had admitted his boys’ role in the violence.
State Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharya said Ali was suspended for an indefinite period. A notice, asking why he should not be expelled from the party, has been served on him.
However, the president of the Congress-backed All India Minority Forum was brazen in his defiance. “I feel proud to have been associated with the movement,” Ali said.
“My suspension would cost the party dear during next year’s panchayat elections,” he added.
The forum led by Ali had called the morning peak-hour roadblock that turned violent on Wednesday. The army had to be called on the city’s streets after 15 years as violent mobs laid siege to a part of the city.
The decision to suspend Ali followed a meeting of key Congress office bearers, including former state unit chief Somen Mitra, who is said to be his mentor.
Suspended, Ali, a former chairman of the party’s minority cell, accused the state Congress of being “isolated from the minorities, particularly a vast section of the Muslim community”.
“The leaders failed to understand the spontaneous protest from the minorities, particularly a vast section of the Muslim community in the state, against Taslima Nasreen’s stay in Calcutta.”
State Congress general secretary Jayanta Bhattacharya described Ali’s remarks today as “gross violation of the party’s discipline”.
The leadership is left with no option but to expel Ali, he said.
Trinamul Congress sources said Mamata “snubbed” Sultan Ahmed today when he called her at the party headquarters to say he had no control on his “boys”.
On the day of the violence, he said: “Why should I stop my boys' What happened today should serve as an eye-opener for the government.”
A Trinamul leader said: “Didi did not buy Sultan’s arguments.”
A large section of the party’s working committee has told Mamata that the general secretary post should at least be taken away from him.
The most vocal among them was Trinamul’s minority cell president M. Nur Uzzuman. “The party’s image has definitely taken a severe beating because of Sultan’s involvement in the riots. He has to be removed,” Nur said.
Like Ali, Ahmed remained unfazed.
“I was not born a Trinamul general secretary. So, I don’t mind being removed from the post for sharing the concerns of a vast section of my community,” he said.