In two separate incidents, two groups of people, including one led by a local Trinamool Congress leader, Friday attacked as many police stations in the city and allegedly assaulted personnel on duty, leaving several injured.
In the first incident, a group of people allegedly owing allegiance to the ruling Trinamool Congress attacked Alipore police station to protest against eviction of squatters from a slum located near Surya Sen colony and Presidency Correctional Home for Women.
The attackers threw stones at the police station and thrashed the security personnel with sticks snatched from them. Local TV channels showed video clips of some policemen taking cover under a table and stacks of files to save themselves.
The situation could be brought under control when additional forces were rushed in and chased away the mob from the police station. The slum dwellers, however, blocked the road in front of the Bhawani Bhavan – which houses state police and CID headquarters. The blockade was lifted after senior police officials and state Public Works Department (PWD) spoke to the crowd.
No arrest has been made yet, Murli Dhar Sharma, DC , south division said, adding cases have been started on charges of rioting and damaging government property.
Tension erupted in the morning when a PWD team accompanied by a police personnel reached the slum close to the Alipore police station and tried to evict the squatters from a piece of government land identified for construction of a stadium. The slum dwellers started agitating in the area and claimed that they were given ‘patta’ – a legal document attesting to the actual owner of a plot of land -by the previous Left Front government. While PWD officials put the eviction process on hold, the police picked up at least 10 protesters and brought them to the police station, which led to the mob outrage.
The locals claimed that local TMC leader Pratap Saha had led the attack.
Contacted, Urban Development Minister and local MLA Firhad Hakim refused to acknowledge that the police station was attacked. “The police station was not attacked. No police personnel was attacked and injured in the incident,” he said.
Ward No. 74 councillor, Pratap Biswas, however, said, “I know that the land is disputed. It is a vested land and has been encroached upon. But, had no information about the PWD team visiting the spot or about any eviction drive in the area”.
In another attack, a sergeant of Garfa police station Sourav Bhattacharya was severely beaten up and injured by a group of hawkers belonging to the Hawkers Sangram Committee who were protesting against eviction from an area on the E M Bypass near Avishikta-2 Housing Estate.
City police sources said that the incident took place when the local police were conducting a “drive” to evict the hawkers to facilitate widening of the E M Bypass.
An injured Bhattacharya was later admitted to M R Bangur Hospital in the city, the sources said.
Eleven persons, including seven women, were detained for interrogation, the sources said.
On November 10, a Kolkata Police sub-inspector and two other policemen were assaulted by a motorcyclist during a routine patrol at Kasba in the southern part of the city. Prior to that, two incidents were reported from Birbhum district.