Trinamool Congress MLA Paresh Paul on Tuesday slapped and punched auto-rickshaw drivers and forced them to do sit-ups at Kakurgachi-Phool Bagan area. The auto drivers had put up a road blockade to protest the hike in LPG price.
Accompanied by his supporters,Paul took to the streets to lift the road blockade. As he reached the spot,he began slapping and punching the protesters even as policemen were trying to persuade them to call off their agitation since the blockade was causing inconvenience to commuters.
Paul dragged one of the auto drivers by his collar and ordered him to do sit-ups. The hapless auto driver followed the instruction while policemen watched.
A defiant Paul later said: I have done the right thing for the sake of the people.
While Paul was busy teaching a lesson to the protesting auto-rickshaw drivers,his party colleague,Swapan Samaddar,a councillor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation entered into a heated exchange with another group of auto drivers holding demonstrations at Phool Bagan. In a related incident,an auto rickshaw driver was reportedly slapped by another Trinamool councilor.
Meanwhile,Commerce and Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee accused the CPM of sponsoring the agitation of the auto drivers. Higher Secondary examination is on. They (the CPM men) are trying to bring hooliganism back in the state, Chatterjee told mediapersons. He,however,refused to comment on Pauls action.
CITU state president and CPM central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty condemned Pauls act and extended support to the agitating auto drivers.
Sports Minister Madan Mitra held a meeting with trade union representatives at the Writers to discuss the demands of the auto rickshaw drivers. Transport minister has convened a meeting of auto rickshaw drivers on April 8, Chatterjee said.