The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Two. Are you aware that preventing a Judge particularly when he is going to the Court is a contemptuous action'/ Yes, My Lord.

3. Are you aware that right to work is a Fundamental Right of the people in a democratic country'/ Yes, I am aware My Lord.

4. On last Wednesday, that is, on 26th September, 2003, you have failed to perform and discharge your duty as the head of traffic department of Calcutta Police, when your personnel prevented the Judges of this Court as well as member of the public from attending their official duties in the heart of commercial centre of Calcutta particularly near the Akash Bani Bhaban area, what have you to say on this'/ My Lord, on that day, the traffic department of Calcutta Police were faced with a peculiar circumstances and enormous difficulties. Around 10 am, a particular procession started coming from the Strand Road side and following the main thoroughfare of the road and reached the point near Akash Bani Bhaban and forced their way towards the Rani Rashmani Avenue. Although they were to be taken towards the Maidan area (Talbagan Maidan) but they broke order of Section 144 and started turning violent and smashed some cars and chased common public who were standing by the side of the road, to cross the road on their way to their respective offices or business places. As the processionists turned violent when the Police personnel tried to pacify their leaders and requested them to allow the vehicular traffic to pass at certain intervals which they did not agree and by brandishing lathis and their traditional weapons forced their way through the main road. As a result of which all the cross roads near the Akash Bani Bhaban and Netaji statue near south gate of Governorís house were blocked by the vehicles coming from Red Road, Mayo Road, Rani Rash Mani Road etc. There were several cars carrying Honíble Judges and other dignitaries and VIPs and member of the public waiting to cross the road to reach their places of work, the processionists were allowed to move out of the area as a prevention action and to avoid any untoward incident at that point of time. The procession consisting some 12,000 to 14,000 people mainly tribal people coming with traditional weapons were quite aggressive and were misbehaving with the public, who tried to cross road by their procession. As there were very less number of police personnel posted over the place, it became unimaginable at times to confront the leaders leading the procession.

5. Did you not receive any prior information about the procession'/ Yes, My Lord, we did receive prior information through the Special Branch of Calcutta Police, but when we sent message to DC Headquarters of Calcutta Police for sending reinforcements, it was too late and the situation already went out of gear.

6. If such processionists turn unruly and violent all of a sudden, what steps are normally taken to prevent and save common public and public properties'/ My Lord, usually the traffic department grants permission to carry out any procession on the road of Calcutta after receiving required feedback from DC Headquarters and the Special Branch of Calcutta Police. As the traffic department is only responsible for the movement of vehicular traffic and movement of public and private vehicles on the main thoroughfare it is the responsibility of Police Administration as a whole to tackle the law and order situation. On that day there were no special arrangement of RAF or armed Police personnel to tackle the situation. That is the reason to avoid any unwanted situation and breach of peace in the area the vehicles were stopped and the processionists were allowed to move.

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