Traders protest clashes

The traders demonstrate in front of Mainaguri police station on Sunday. Picture by Biplab Basak

Jalpaiguri: Traders based in the Jorepakhri area of Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri district demonstrated before the local police station for over five hours on Sunday, demanding police intervention to stop recurring clashes between Trinamul and BJP supporters.

The clashes are affecting their business at regular intervals, the traders said.

On Saturday evening, Trinamul organised a peace rally in the area. As it reached near the local BJP office, a clash erupted between supporters of both parties.

A number of motorcycles were damaged as they pelted each other with stones and attacked each other with sticks. At least seven persons were injured in the clash and are under treatment at the district hospital here.

As the police reached the spot, they had to face protest from local people, who alleged deterioration of law and order. Later, personnel of RAF were called and posted in the locality.

After the clash, Trinamul leaders complained that they were attacked by BJP supporters who were present at the house of a BJP leader in the locality. The BJP, on the other hand, alleged that a group of Trinamul supporters had attacked the house of Shibshankar Dutta, a party leader, and assaulted his old mother.

"BJP activists attacked our rally. They were carrying firearms and bombs. The attack was organised from the house of Shibshankar Dutta. Surat Ali, one of our local leaders, has suffered a bullet injury. We are shifting him to Calcutta for treatment," said Sourav Chakroborty, the Jalpaiguri district Trinamul president.

On Sunday morning, a group of traders from Jorpakhri reached Mainaguri police station. Around 9am, they launched a demonstration, alleging that such incidents are affecting their business.

"In the past few months, there had been a number of political clashes in Jalpaiguri. During such incidents, there had been serious deterioration of law and order. We want the police to intervene as we are suffering losses," said a local trader.

A senior trader mentioned that as some of the clashes had occurred in the local market, people in these days fear to visit shops during evening hours.

"We are bearing losses as people prefer to stay indoors in the evening. Minor skirmishes and altercations are occurring everyday between Trinamul and the BJP and on many occasions, such incidents are snowballing into a full-fledged attack and counter attack," he said.

As the demonstration continued, police officials spoke to the agitated traders and persuaded them to withdraw the blockade around 1.30pm, that is, after four-and-half hours.

"We have started investigation on the basis of complaints lodged by both the sides. Peace and normality has been restored in the area. Our men have been deployed to continue patrolling and keeping situation under control," said Amitabha Maiti, SP, Jalpaiguri.


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