CONGRESS workers on Tuesday blocked the Dorina crossing at Esplanade in Kolkata after they were denied permission to march to state secretariat Nabanna to submit a memorandum on the law and order situation in the state.
Amid heavy police presence since afternoon, the ‘march to Nabanna’ programme began as per schedule. Senior leaders and workers started accommodating at three places — Howrah station, Santragachi and Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
As they started their ‘March to Nabanna’ programme, shortly after, they were prevented by the police to proceed further. They tried to break the police barricade, but failed to do so. The activists then blocked Dorina crossing, throwing traffic out of gear.
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The Congress supporters, as instructed by Chowdhury, squatted at the crossing for around one-and-a-half-hours from 2.30 pm. When ACP (IV) R Shivkumar accepted the memorandum from them, the blockade was lifted. This was unlike the August 27 protest by Krishak Mancha — the agricultural front of Left Front — where police had resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd.
Earlier, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, with other leaders including Manas Bhuniya, Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury, Pradeep Bhattacharya, Somen Mitra and Mausam Benazir Noor, gathered at Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
Chowdhury, while addressing the gathering said it was a “three-in-one demonstration”, as it was taking place at three places at the same time.
“The government on Monday had made elaborate police arrangements to prevent five Congress representatives from going to Nabanna and submit a deputation to DGP G M Prabhu Rajshekhar Reddy. The number of police personnel present here today gives me a feeling that either they think we are out to abduct didi (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) or we are going to demand a share of the money she and her party has received from the Saradha Group,” he claimed.
Chowdhury added that if so many police personnel were deployed at places where there was a law and order problem, then there was no need for Congress to hold this demonstration. Trying to strike a chord with the police contingent, he said: “Police personnel have also been attacked on several occasions. Our protest is against this as well. Didi (Mamata) doesn’t like police officers like Damyanti Sen. She likes officers like (West Midnapore SP) Bharati Ghosh, who will act according to her whims and fancies.”
“While writing to the CM is of no use, we are also not banking on the DGP. I don’t think the DGP is in a position to solve issues. But in a democratic set up and according to the Constitution, we don’t have any other option,” Chowdhury said.
The Congress memorandum alleged “law and order situation was deteriorating” in the state and “all sections of the population were being attacked by Trinamool goons”.
It pointed out recent incidents like the murder of Sabang college student Krishna Prasad Jana in West Midnapore, rape and murder of Shahina Khatoon at Ketugram in Burdwan, murder of an 80-year-old person at Ratua in Malda and violence at Raigunj University campus.
Their charter of demands included removal of West Midnapore SP Bharati Ghosh, putting a stop to “implicating Chhatra Parishad students and bringing actual offenders to the books” and allowing parties to “exercise their democratic rights and establishing rule of law”.