Challenging the police, which has banned law violation programmes in the city, the Left Front defied the directive here on Friday with its leaders courting arrest in support of their various demands. They later asserted that in the future they would organise such programmes without seeking the permission of the police.
Though security arrangements for the programme at Rani Rashmoni Avenue in the heart of the city were elaborate, not seen in the recent times, and the venue hemmed in with barricades put up by the police, there was no untoward incident as was anticipated by the administration. Besides deploying thousands of police personnel, water cannons were stationed nearby and a crane atop which the police kept a watch on developments below.
Soon after a rally preceding the law violation programme, senior Left Front leaders and their supporters tried to breach the barricade. But before they could break through, the police announced that all were being taken into custody. A judicial magistrate present there granted unconditional bail to those arrested moments later.
Senior Left Front leaders, including its chairperson Biman Bose and leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra, however, refused to leave the venue and held a sit-in-demonstration for about an hour. They dispersed after announcing that they would continue organising law violation programmes without informing the authorities.
“Look how much force has been deployed there. I have never seen a deployment,” Mr. Bose said, adding that the posting of so many police personnel at the spot could not have been done unless one has lost one’s mind.
“Where in the world is there such a rule stipulating that the Opposition will not be allowed to participate in law violation programmes?” he asked.
Speaking at the public rally, Mr. Mishra alleged that the State government was violating existing laws and Constitutional provisions on a daily basis.
“The number of times you will violate laws, we will organise such law violations programmes. Your violation of laws and our protests will continue,” he said, referring to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The programme was meant to highlight, among other issues, the Left Front’s demand for a judicial probe into the death of SFI leader Sudipta Gupta early last month and a court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the Saradha Group scam.
The city police had after a meeting with major political parties in the State on May 25 had announced its decision to ban law violation programme, stating that it does not have the required infrastructure to tackle such events.