The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu leads Brigade battle

Calcutta, Sept. 25: A day after rallies were booted out of the Brigade Parade Grounds, the ruling Left Front came out strongly against the order, threatening to move a higher court to get it reversed.

Mincing few words on the Calcutta High Court bar on constructions on the sprawling greens, CPM leader Jyoti Basu tonight said he would ask chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to challenge the ruling.

'This is very strange. Where will we organise big public meetings if no structures can be erected on the Brigade Parade Grounds' I will ask Buddha to move the higher court against the order. Our party will also discuss the issue,' he told The Telegraph.

The Opposition Trinamul Congress was one with him in protest with Mamata Banerjee unhappy the order would come in the way of her proposed rally in December.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee (Trinamul) said: 'This is a serious matter. The order will prevent us from organising big rallies in the only open space available in the city. We will urge the high court to rethink the matter.'

Calcutta Police, too, said they would seek a clarification from the court as the order would impede their functioning.

'Stages and dividers made of bamboo and wooden planks are erected during rallies for the purpose of maintaining law and order. Rally organisers erect these temporary structures based on plans chalked out by us.

'Naturally we will want to know from the high court how the police can perform their duties if no such structures are allowed on the Brigade Parade Grounds,' a top officer said.

Hinting that the tussle between the army and the police for control of the grounds was far from over, he added: 'We want a specific direction from the court about our jurisdiction in maintaining law and order in the area.' The officer said a petition seeking a clarification of the order would be moved after the Pujas.

Although the rumbles of discontent were much louder, the army and environmentalist Subhas Dutta were pleased the court had upheld their plea to keep the maidan clean and free of pollution.

Dutta had moved a petition in January last year.

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