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Definition of 'good': bricks, blood, disruption, Left tonic

Left leaders had only two words on their lips after today's clashes with police: " Bhalo hoyechhe (It was good)."

By Our Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 28.08.15
  •  
Bose after he was hit on
the head with a brick.
Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Calcutta, Aug 27: Left leaders had only two words on their lips after today's clashes with police: " Bhalo hoyechhe (It was good)."

On a day the peasants' wings of the Left parties hit the streets as part of their Nabanna Abhijan (march to Nabanna), the heart of Calcutta and Howrah witnessed pitched battles between the police and comrades.

There were injuries on both sides. Cadres threw large chunks of concrete slabs and bricks at the police, who had put up barricades along Rani Rashmoni Avenue, Dufferin Road, Outram Road, Hastings and around Nabanna. The police retaliated with batons and bricks. Around 25 cops in Calcutta and seven in Howrah suffered injuries. The Left alleged 150 cadres were injured in lathi-charging and tear-gassing.

On Dufferin Road, a brick hit Left Front chairman Biman Bose's head.

"It is a moral victory for us," said Manoj Bhattacharya, a veteran RSP leader and former MP, asked about the protests.

Most comrades shared his view, leaving the protest venues with a rare sense of accomplishment that has eluded them since the change of guard in the state in 2011.

The Left's protests brought traffic along Park Circus, AJC Bose Road and JL Nehru Road to a standstill for several hours. Several top police officers, including special commissioner (II) Soumen Mitra and joint commissioner (traffic) Supratim Sarkar, suffered injuries.

Over 17 farmers' bodies of the Left had organised processions to Nabanna to demand compensation and rehabilitation for flood-affected farmers and higher price for farm produce, among other demands.

"Today's crowd exceeded our expectations. We have put up a good fight. Bhalo hoyechhe amader ajker andolan. Eta chaliye jete hobe (Today's agitation was good. This has to be continued)," said Surjya Kanta Mishra, the CPM state secretary.

The RSP's Bhattacharya echoed him.

The way things unfolded today, both in Howrah and in Calcutta, made it clear that Left leaders had drawn up a plan to assert their presence.

"All Left MLAs were asked to take part in the marches leading to Nabanna. MPs and leaders of the peasants' organisations were also told to attend the protest," a source said.

Mishra had directed a section of cadres to take Red Road and walk towards Fort William, thus diverting a police contingent from Mayo Road.

"Surjyada's trick worked. Police presence on Mayo Road thinned a bit," a CPM state committee leader said.

"The attempt to breach barricades started then and soon bricks flew," a Forward Bloc leader said.

On Foreshore Road, the police had to use water canons and lob tear gas shells to quell Left cadres.

The "success" of today's rally is being viewed by the Left as a precursor to the all-India trade union strike on September 2. "Today was the curtain-raiser and it was a good one," CPM politburo member Mohammad Salim said.