| Blood in the driver’s cabin of the bus that was attacked on Chittaranjan Avenue on Friday morning. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta witnessed the “most violent bandh” in recent times on Friday, with Opposition activists damaging 11 state buses, setting one on fire, and trying to storm chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s residence to protest the Nandigram killings. Around 290 bandh enforcers, including 140 Congress supporters, have been rounded up.
“Our men stopped a 80-strong group of Congress supporters from barging into the chief minister’s apartment on Palm Avenue. The protesters arrived in eight Matadors,” said Pradip Chatterjee, deputy commissioner (headquarters).
Since early on Friday, protesters took to the streets and organised rallies in various pockets across the city, including Hastings, Chetla Central Road, Maniktala, Amherst Street, Bidhan Sarani, Beleghata Main Road, Shyambazar five-point crossing and Hazra. A mob trying to storm Bhowanipore police station had to be lathicharged.
Home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray called the bandh “the most violent” in recent times. Asked whether the strike had been successful, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty said: “If success is to be measured by the damage inflicted on government property, then this bandh is, indeed, successful.”
Around 11.30 am, a mob pelted stones at a state bus at the crossing of Chittaranjan Avenue and Colootola Street, critically injuring the 59-year-old driver, Shibpada Guha. He has been admitted to Medical College and Hospital.
Three youths set a bus on fire in Sealdah at 5.30 am.
Attendance in government offices was a mere five per cent, according to home secretary Ray. “At Writers’ Buildings, it was slightly higher.” At the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, one-fourth of the employees attended office.
The IT hub in Salt Lake’s Sector V, however, remained “unaffected”, though several companies decided to keep their offices closed. The high court could not function, as the lawyers did not turn up.
Flights operated as usual, though train services in both Howrah and Sealdah divisions were disrupted.