Behrampore, Dec. 30: The Congress-sponsored 12-hour bandh to protest alleged atrocities on its workers by the CPM and police in the district passed off peacefully, barring stray incidents, with government offices remaining empty and traffic paralysed.
The police arrested 647 Congress workers, including former MLA Mannan Hossain. The bandh supporters damaged three government buses, besides setting up blockades on railway tracks holding up several important trains.
“There was some attendance in several government offices but no one, barring the two additional district magistrates, could enter the main collectorate building,” said Murshidabad magistrate Manoj Panth. Blockades at Tildanga in the Farakka police station area and at Bajarshow in the Rejinagar area held up the Jan Shatadbi Express and the Bhagirathi Express, Panth added.
District Congress president and Lok Sabha member Adhir Chowdhury alleged that the police made an unprovoked lathi-charge on “peaceful bandh supporters” during the day.
“It was not the CPM but the police which tried to break the bandh by arresting our supporters without reason at 7 in the morning,” Chowdhury alleged.
District police superintendent Virendra, however, denied any incident of lathi-charge. “The bandh supporters who were arrested from different parts of the district were released on bail in the evening,” he said.
Eastern Railway sources said trains were stranded at Behrampore, Lalgola, Murshidabad, New Farakka and several other stations since early morning. Seven mail and express trains, including Uttarbanga and Hatey Bajarey, were running late.