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Nandigram Firing outrage spills onto city streets

KOLKATA, March 14: Nandigram was in flames, and the streets of Kolkata ~ taken over by protestors crying hoarse against alleged police atrocities in the strife-torn village ~ shimmered in the heat.
Activists of several political parties and even lawyers blocked roads, disrupted train services and set ablaze a bus to protest against the alleged atrocities perpetrated by the Left Front government and killings of villagers in Nandigram.

Citizens, particularly those returning home from offices, were caught unawares on the roads and got stranded in traffic jams as they had no idea of the impending trouble beforehand. Buses had to be diverted to other routes while police officials had a tough time maintaining law and order at important crossings where political activists gathered to stage vehement protests.

Deputy commissioner (south division) Mr Ajay Kumar said a bus was set ablaze on the Kalighat bridge off Hazra crossing. Though the whole bus was not gutted, the seats were damaged. No one was, however, injured. Later, nearly 4,000-odd supporters of Trinamul Congress and Krishi Jami Rakhsa Committee blocked the Hazra crossing from 4.30 p.m. for nearly an hour. A procession had come from Golpark Crossing to join them at Hazra.
A large police contingent had to be deployed and officers had to rush to the spot from nearby police stations like Charu Market to bring the situations under control. Vehicles travelling along Harish Mukherjee Road and Asutosh Mukherjee Road were stuck in traffic jams for a long time. The crowd at Metro stations increased significantly as most of the passengers, apprehending more trouble on the roads, tried to avail of Metro services.

Around 1.45 p.m., SUCI members staged a demonstration near the north gate of the Assembly. Police said 41 people, including 18 women, were arrested from the spot.

SUCI members alleged that police had resorted to lathi charge to disperse them though police brushed aside the allegations. Activists of the Sanghati Udyog Samity, a naxal organisation, staged a demonstration near the KC Das shop in Esplanade for nearly 20 minutes. Thereafter the supporters went to College Square where they formed a human chain and blocked the MG Road ~ College street crossing for nearly 45 minutes. Road blockades were also reported from Howrah Bridge and Sealdah flyover resulting in long traffic snarls. Around 3.30 p.m., a group of advocates staged a protest in front of the Writers' Buildings.

Deputy commissioner (head quarters) Mr Pradip Chatterjee said in most of the cases the protests were peaceful and there were no report of any untoward incident.

Meanwhile train services on both Howrah and Sealdah divisions of Eastern Railway were disrupted for hours today after Trinamul congress supporters blocked railway tracks at different railway stations in protest against police firing in Nandigram. Eight local trains had to be cancelled due to the protests. According to an ER spokesman, up Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani Express, up Coal-field Express and up Saraighat Express were diverted due to agitation staged by political parties. Twenty local trains were detained for hours at different stations. Railway tracks near Baidyabati, Sheroaphuli, Kamarkundu, Haripal, Tribeni, Kuntighat, were blocked for hours by protestors.

Trinamul Congress supporters blocked railway tracks at Habra, Thakurnagar, Birati, Barasat Guma, in Sealdah division this afternoon. Many local trains in the Sealdah-Ranaghat section were detained for hours after Trinamul Congress supporters blocked railway tracks at Chakda and Ranaghat stations. Four local trains were cancelled.

Up Sealdah-Rajdhani Express, down Akal Takht, down West Bengal Sampark Kranti Express, down Kanchanjangha Express and down Jammu Tawi-Kolkata Express had to be diverted through Naihati-Bandel section.  The Statesman

posted by Bimal 15.3.07,


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