The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul twin flanks of fury

Trouble on Tuesday, sparked by the civic body strife, spanned several hours and spread to various parts of town. A series of demonstrations by Trinamul Congress supporters from 9 am disrupted traffic in many protest pockets. It ended at the imposing red building, 5, SN Banerjee Road, where it had all begun on Monday afternoon.

The first signs of the chaos to come became evident when a police contingent arrived to arrest mayor-in-council member Pradip Ghosh at his Muchipara residence in the morning. “No, we won’t let you take him away,” shouted a mob, squatting on the streets to carry out their threat.

As the police managed to lead him away, Trinamul activists held a brief demonstration at Lebutala Park and then marched to Bowbazar Street, which they blocked.

Trinamul supporters simultaneously paralysed traffic on Amherst Street around 11 am, demanding the immediate release of their leaders. Roadblocks and brick-batting at passing vehicles were reported around noon at Kankurgachhi, Phoolbagan, Narkeldanga Main Road, CIT Road and Beleghata Main Road. The situation was quite explosive at the Hazra crossing and in Taltala, where a few bombs were hurled, sending bystanders scurrying for cover and forcing shops to briefly down shutters.

In the afternoon, Trinamul supporters set up two flanks of fury — one at Bankshal court and the other at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), where dozens of trucks and Matador vans descended, causing a traffic snarl in the area.

After raising slogans against mayor Subrata Mukherjee and municipal commissioner Debasis Som “for selling out to the CPM”, some Trinamul councillors sat in dharna in front of Som’s office. “Why isn’t the police arresting him'” demanded Trinamul Chief Whip Aparna Niyogi.

Later, the councillors shifted to the mayor’s office door, demanding immediate reinstatement of the seven mayoral council members. Posters denouncing the commissioner’s actions were plastered on the walls leading to the two ‘target’ doors.

The dissent drama climaxed when five of the seven arrested council members — Anup Chatterjee, Pradip Ghosh, Shamsuzzaman Ansari, Moinul Haque Chowdhury and Swapan Samaddar — dropped by.

“The mayor has let loose the police in collusion with Som, as we had protested against illegal transfer of land to private parties,” shouted Ghosh.

Finally, at 5.15 pm, Ghosh and most of the agitators left for Mamata Banerjee’s house, while a few mayor loyalists like Rajiv Deb, Debasish Kumar, Arup Biswas and Firad Hakim, headed off to visit Mukherjee, who did not attend office citing his mother’s illness.


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