Raiganj, Feb. 19: The police chief of North Dinajpur has threatened to arrest the district secretary of the Citu 'at any cost'.
Police have been looking for Subir Biswas since last night when supporters of the Citu ' the labour wing of the CPM ' beat up a driver and a conductor of a North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus at the Islampur terminus, 110 km from here. Three other buses and the terminus office were ransacked while some passengers suffered minor injuries in the scuffle that followed.
The Citu leader, who the police claim had been missing since last night, however, denied the charges when contacted on his cellphone.
He alleged that some youths, provoked by local Trinamul Congress MLA Karim Chowdhury, had indulged in vandalism. It was Chowdhury who had lodged a police complaint against him, he added.
District superintendent of police Pradeep Kumar Sanyal admitted that a complaint had been lodged against Biswas. 'We shall arrest him at any cost. It is immaterial whether he belongs to the ruling party or not. We have been looking for him since last night,' Sanyal said.
The immediate reason for the trouble seems to have been the high speed of a Calcutta-bound NBSTC bus, which according to Biswas, was about to knock him down near the terminus. The angry Citu leader, who is also a former director of the NBSTC board, and his men pelted stones at the bus, injuring some passengers. It was then that pandemonium broke out. Stranded passengers and NBSTC employees put up a blockade on National Highway 31 for four hours. The blockade was lifted at 12 midnight after Chowdhury's intervention. Alternative buses were arranged for the passengers.
According to Biswas, drivers of state buses often park their vehicles in 'no parking zones' instead of the terminus, causing frequent accidents. The Citu, he claimed, had been protesting against this practice for a long time. One of the passengers of the Calcutta-bound bus Tapan Sarkar said Biswas had taken the driver to task for parking the bus outside the terminus. But when the driver ignored him, Biswas and his men starting pelting stones.
Chowdhury today threatened that the Trinamul Congress would gherao Islampur police station if Biswas was not arrested by tonight.
District secretary of the CPM and current director of the NBSTC board Bireswar Lahiri said: 'I have heard about the incident. But I have neither received any report from my party, nor from the NBSTC. However, I am in favour of punishing the guilty.'