Kolkata police deny baton charge, accuse Left activists of provocation

Kolkata: The Kolkata police on Friday denied baton charging a rally by the CPI-M led Left Front that left several people injured, but blamed the agitators for provoking and assaulting the security personnel. Left leaders called the police response “lies”.

Several people including political leaders and policemen were injured after the march to the city police headquarters called by the Left Front on Thursday turned violent, leading to pitched battles between party cadres and the security personnel.

“The agitators were pelting stones and even beat up policemen with flagpoles. They not only made provocative comments but also assaulted police and threw eggs at them. Despite repeated warning, they breached the police barricade,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Rajiv Mishra told media persons here.

“At any moment there could have been a serious law and order situation there,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Supratim Sarkar asserting police used “minimum force” to control the situation.

Going a step further, Deputy Commissioner (central) Bastab Baidya denied that police had baton charged the protestors.

“We only chased them away. that’s all. In no television footage did I see any of them getting injured from any baton charge. Yes, some of the protestors slipped and fell down and injrued themselves. But there was no baton charge.”

An Angry Communist Party of India – Marxist politburo member Mohammed Salim dubbed the police claims as a “bundle of lies.

“Previously we thought only the chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) was a lier. Now, to save their chair, her police officers are also indulging in naked lies,” he said.

Police have also slapped cases against many Left workers under several sections including charges of attempt to murder. Three workers were arrested on non-bailable sections during the day and sent to police custody.

All top Left Front leaders, including the combine’s chairman Biman Bose, and state CPI-M secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra took part in the march organised by the Kolkata district unit of the Front in protest against the ‘political bias’ of police in law and order matters and denial of democratic right of opposition parties.

Television grabs showed police personnel baton-charging women protesters, many of whom bled profusely.