Snarl at Esplanade because of a rally in the heart of the city
The CPM has been barred from organising a meeting at a site in the heart of the city where Mamata Banerjee has been holding mammoth rallies every year on July 21.
Police on Tuesday turned down a plea by the CPM’s North 24-Parganas unit for consent to a rally in front of Victoria House on October 1 on the grounds that it would disrupt traffic.
Rabin Deb, the secretary of the CPM’s district unit, and former party MPs Amitava Nandi and Tarit Topdar met the police commissioner at Lalbazar on Monday with the request for permission to hold the rally.
“The police commissioner categorically told us that the rally could not be allowed in front of Victoria House. We were told to look for an alternative venue,” Nandi later said. “The police cited traffic disruption as the reason for denying us permission. This can’t be logical.”
Mamata has been holding her Martyr’s Day rally in front of Victoria House on July 21 since 1994. The only exception was in 2011, when the rally was shifted to the Brigade Parade Ground.
Asked what prevents the police from denying permission for Trinamul’s traffic-stopper rallies, a senior officer at Lalbazar said on condition of anonymity: “We never give permission for Trinamul’s July 21 meetings in front of Victoria House.”
Deb said the October 1 rally had been called to highlight the Trinamul government’s “misrule” and hand over money to the families of cadres and sympathisers killed in “Trinamul violence”.
“I don’t know why the government is withholding permission,” said Deb.
The CPM had proposed the Dorina crossing as an alternative venue for the rally but the police said a decision would be taken only after joint commissioner (traffic) Supratim Sarkar and deputy commissioner (south) Vishal Garg inspected the spot on Thursday.
“We will take a call after the police let us know the outcome of the inspection,” Deb said.
Sources at Lalbazar said the only place where the police would allow the North 24-Parganas unit of the CPM to hold the October 1 rally was Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
Last month, the Hooghly district administration had initially rejected a CPM proposal to hold a workers’ meeting at Rabindra Bhavan in Arambagh that was to be addressed by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The reason cited was “law and order”. Later, however, the police relented.