ACCUSING THE Trinamool Congress government of trying to curb peaceful protest by Opposition parties, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday condemned Thursday’s police lathicharge on Left workers as “murder of democracy”.
“I strongly condemn the police attack on Left protesters. It is part of an ongoing murder of democracy and democratic set up of the state,” he told The Indian Express.
On Thursday, several Left workers were injured when police resorted to lathicharge to stop them from reaching Kolkata Police headquarters Lalbazar. The party has claimed that male policemen attacked women protesters during the rally, injuring CPM central committee member Deepak Dasgupta and RSP leader Sukumar Ghosh.
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On Union Minister Babul Supriyo calling up state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Thursday, urging him to unite against the Trinamool so that people can vote freely in Saturday’s civic polls in Bidhannagar, Asansol and Howrah, Yechury said: “It is not the question of Opposition parties. All democratic-minded people should come together to restore democracy and civil liberties. The motive is to unite all in this movement.”
He, however, was unsure whether Supriyo, also the BJP MP from Asansol, would ask other parties to unite against Trinamool. “We are not sure about BJP’s credentials. They play hide and seek with the Trinamool. We are appealing to the people in general to unite and launch a larger movement and not necessarily form a political or electoral alliance,” said Yechury.
Meanwhile, Chowdhury also came down heavily on the Kolkata Police. Calling Thursday’s lathicharge a “despicable and condemnable act”, he said: “Officials of Kolkata Police have shown their bravery by raining batons on unarmed agitators but they seem to lose courage when it comes to fighting for their colleagues, who are attacked by ruling party cadres. I am sure yesterday’s lathicharge has been done under the instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”
Asked about Supriyo’s call to him on Thursday, he said: “He had called for a unified fight but I told him that his top leaders in Delhi have an understanding with Mamata Banerjee. That should stop first.”
On public forums helping in “restoring democracy” in the state, Chowdhury said: “During the recent civic elections in Siliguri, the city had never witnessed the kind of terror we have seen here… so it (public formus) had worked there. I will be happy to see people casting their own votes but I have my doubts about the effectiveness of such forums.”
Congress leader and senior high court lawyer Arunava Ghosh said that if all parties stood together against trouble makers, they will be forced to go back. “This is not a seat-sharing agreement. We had formed a citizens’ forum… On Thursday, locals, especially women residents of Bidhannagar, had come out and stopped a bike rally being held by Trinamool late into the night. Two bikes were handed over to the police later,” he added.
He claimed that police lathicharged Left supporters on Thursday to please the CM. “Three rallies were held yesterday. There was a minor scuffle at two places but no lathicharge. The place where there was a lathicharge, there was no scuffle. It shows that the police resorted to lathicharge to please Mamata Banerjee,” said Ghosh.
BJP state president Rahul Sinha, however, termed the lathicharge episode as a match fixed by both Trinamool and CPM. “It was a drama scripted together by Trinamool and the CPM because while there is a decline in TMC’s popularity, the BJP is witnessing a rise. Trinanool is trying to give some oxygen to the CPM so that BJP’s vote share gets divided,” he added.
Sinha claimed that he did not believe in forming any forum in alliance with any party. “Should we form a forum with CPM or Congress, who had indulged in all sorts of vote looting when they were in power?” Sinha said.
Asked then why top BJP leaders and even MPs were trying to unite Opposition parties, he said: “This is being done at a local level and rightly so. I am just saying that there will not be any such alliance or forum at state level.”