CPI(M), Trinamool clash at Rajarhat



Kolkata: The CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress clashed over the closure of a school at Rajarhat in North 24 Parganas district during the 24-hour general strike on Tuesday.

A group of CPI(M) workers tried to forcibly close down a school to enforce the strike when Trinamool Congress workers arrived on the scene and resisted, police sources said.

Tapas Chatterjee, chairman of the Gopalpur-Rajarhat municipality belonging to the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress MLA Sabyasachi Dutta also arrived at the spot and a clash ensued, the sources said.

The revolver of the security guard of Dutta went missing in the melee, they said.

Police said three or four persons were injured in the clash.

Six persons, mostly CPI(M) workers, were arrested. CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb told reporters that Chatterjee, who was absconding after the clash, would surrender in court tomorrow.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Hq) Jawed Shamim said that a reporter of a TV news channel was assaulted at Ganguly Bagan area here during the clash between pro and anti-strike supporters.

The chief minister said the 'total failure' of the shutdown would serve as a message to the Leftists in organising such strikes in future.

The government had warned its employees to turn up for duty or face action, including break in service.

She said that 98 per cent turnout of employees in the state secretariat was a pointer of things in future.

"Bandh is not the future of Bengal or for that matter the country. The destructive culture of bandh has ended today.

Let no one have the courage to call a bandh again," Banerjee told reporters.

Without naming the CPI(M), she alleged that the party had maintained its existence through bandhs.

"The manner in which people have responded against the bandh, now no one will want to call a bandh. There is no impact of the bandh. It has failed totally with 100 per cent attendance by government employees in most places," she said.

Criticising the chief minister, the CPI(M) complained that the state government adopted 'oppressive methods to foil the strike'.

Claiming that the success of the strike was 'unprecedented' Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra said "the government's fascist face is exposed in its oppressive measures to break the strike though unsuccessfully."

Questioning the government's directive to employees to turn up for duty or face a break in service, he asked "what was the outcome of government employees staying the night in offices?"

Rejecting the chief minister's claim that the strike had failed, CITU state President Shyamal Chakraborty said despite 'state-sponsored threats', people responded to the strike call.

"Several Left workers were attacked and injured, while former minister Srikumar Mukherjee was heckled by the Trinamool Congressmen," Chakraborty said.

"The success of the strike points to the eroding popularity of the Mamata Banerjee government, which rode to power with an overwhelming majority," he said.

Central trade unions which called the strike have demanded guarantee of labour rights, end to the contract labour system, bringing workers in the unorganised sector under the social security net and pension benefit for all workers.

PTI