The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rally, let traffic free

Shahid Minar grounds, 1 pm: A crowd of 11,000, under the banner of Jamaat-e-Ulema Hind, has assembled peacefully without causing a single traffic snarl in the Esplanade-Red Road zone. A meeting venue that does not encroach on the thoroughfare means a handful of cops can breathe easy and the Calcutta commuter can enjoy an easy passage.

Rani Rashmoni Avenue, 2 pm: A group of 2,000 CPI-ML supporters block two flanks of the thoroughfare and leave only the northern flank open to traffic. A 30-strong police posse, led by an assistant commissioner and an OC, watches in vain as the arterial roads leading to Esplanade are clogged.

With political parties following a path of maximum disturbance when it comes to holding meetings in the heart of Calcutta, the Jamaat-e-Ulema Hind on Thursday showed just how to stage a big meeting without paralysing the city centre.

'This is why we always insist that rally organisers choose the Shahid Minar. Even though such a big meeting was held there on Thursday, there was no traffic snarl,' said Anuj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).

In another development on Thursday, Idris Ali, a party to the case relating to rally on city roads, moved a verbal appeal before a division bench of Calcutta High Court.

He stated that the petition moved by the government against Justice Amitava Lala's ruling, banning weekday rallies, had been pending for over two years.

The division bench of Justice P.K. Samanta and Justice Tapen Banerjee asked Ali to bring the matter to Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar's notice.

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