Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed over awards to police officers from a platform created near her dharna manch at Metro channel on Monday. Besides, she also addressed a farmers convention held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium through video conference.
“I was supposed to attend the Krishak Samabesh organised by Krishak O Khet Mazdoor Samiti at Netaji Indoor Stadium. But an unprecedented and emergency-like situation has been created which forced me to address the gathering through video conference. Farmers are spending sleepless nights because of the policies of the Centre. More than 12,000 farmers have committed suicide. Farmers have been cheated. I had observed hunger strike for 26 days in 2006 from this very spot. My struggle to safeguard the rights of the farmers will continue,” she said.
The police investiture event was earlier scheduled to take place at Uttirna Mukta Mancha in Alipore, but it was later changed at the last minute because of the dharna. Police commissioner, Rajeev Kumar, was also present at the event.
This is for the first time in the history of Kolkata police that officials were awarded from a dharna spot of any political party. The stage was erected hours before the programme. About 189 police officials, including SI Amitava Malik, who was killed after alleged supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) faction led by Bimal Gurung clashed with police in Darjeeling in 2017, were awarded at the event.
Almost all the officials who were posted in Darjeeling during the 104-day bandh were awarded for their “continuous effort to maintain law and order in the Hills”. Shaurya Padak was awarded to 10 officials.
A former police official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Police is a state machinery but the way things are unfolding isn’t appreciable. Today police officials were accepting award from the same spot where a political party is on dharna and it is undesirable.”