Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC will be in force around the international terminal and the adjacent Haj terminal of the airport on Thursday because of the staff union election but fliers and their companions will not be affected.
“The section will be in force for 12 hours from 7am to maintain peace during the election. But passengers and those accompanying them, as well as airline staff, will be unaffected,” said an airport official.
The atmosphere at the airport was charged on the eve of the election, with the CPM-backed group at the helm of the Airports Authority of India Employees’ Union alleging that its members were being assaulted and threatened by Trinamul and Congress supporters.
The rival camps, however, denied the allegation.
Airport officials said the election, held every five years, has triggered tension because CPM domination of the union is being challenged after many years.
Metro had earlier reported how even passenger areas were affected in the run-up to the election. Lengthy campaign meetings were so frequent that essential services like cleaning, baggage scanning and trolley retrieval had almost stalled.
“For the past few days, 15-20 youths, all outsiders, were roaming around on motorbikes and threatening our employees,” alleged Dipankar Chakraborty, regional secretary, Calcutta, of the union and a leader of the CPM-backed faction.
He alleged that a Group D employee, Uttam Roy, was beaten up by Trinamul supporters in the international terminal on January 26. A complaint has been lodged.
“Trinamul supporters went to the first floor of the terminal and beat him up. They are also threatening our supporters not to take part in Tuesday’s election. Our supporters are scared,” said Chakraborty.
He alleged that no action had been taken despite written and verbal complaints lodged with the police. Trinamul supporters are also accused of locking the union office in the administrative building.
Trinamul leaders denied the charges. “Most of the union members are our supporters and we will win by a huge margin. So why shall we threaten others?” asked a leader of the Trinamul-backed faction.
“We are deploying additional forces and there will be special patrolling during the election,” said Santosh Nimbalkar, additional deputy commissioner, Bidhannagar City Police.