Staff Correspondent

Several activists of Left unions and youth organisations injured

SHIMLA: State-wide protests by various mass organisations owing allegiance to the Left parties took a violent turn on Thursday and a number of activists got hurt, some of them seriously. The police resorted to lathi-charge in Rampur, a nerve centre of many hydel projects in the Upper Shimla district.

The trade union and youth activists were protesting against the price rise and the recent fare hike of 30 per cent in the State-run and private buses. Some photo journalists were hurt in the melee and their cameras were snatched away by the police.

CPI (M) Central Committee member Rakesh Singha has condemned the lathi-charge and called it a fascist action of the Dhumal-led BJP Government. This “merciless treatment” by the police is totally deplorable and unacceptable in a democratic set-up, he said.

The party has also criticised “inhuman treatment” meted out to its leader Ashok Negi and the subsequent arrest of more than a dozen activists at Rampur. It has demanded unconditional release and immediate free medical treatment to the injured activists.

There will be a State-wide protest on March 20 against the price rise and bus hike, said Mr. Singha before heading for the party's national rally in Delhi on Friday.

Various journalists' organisations have also condemned the lathi-charge on media persons.