Kolkata

West Bengal bandh | Normal life hit in parts of State

Police carry a CPI student activist during a rally against the West Bengal government in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: AP

Life was partially affected in parts of West Bengal on Friday as supporters of Left parties tried to enforce a 12-hour bandh. From Kolkata to districts, they disrupted rail and road movement and forcibly tried to close schools and shops. The Congress, which is in an electoral understanding with the Left parties, participated in the bandh. 

The Left parties had called for the bandh to protest the police action on students and youth wing members during a march to the State Secretariat on Thursday. Hundreds of Left supporters were injured in the violence when they tried to breach the barricades at Esplanade. 

Since early morning, there were reports of stray incidents of supporters squatting on railway track. There were blockades on the track at Pandua in Hooghly district and Belghoria in North 24 Parganas. Services were affected in Bongaon section of the Eastern Railway. 

In certain places, those supporting the bandh gathered outside schools, which are opening today after a gap of 11 months due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Left supporters tried to prevent the reopening of schools in Chinsurah in Hooghly, Malda and Raiganj. They started functioning after police intervention. 

Closure of shops

 There were also attempts by Left and Congress supporters to forcibly close shops in the city. At Entally in central Kolkata, Left supporters were seen threatening shopkeepers. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty, who participated in a party rally in M.G. Road area, urged party supporters not to force people to close shops. Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Abdul Mannan said the party would take action against those who forcibly tried to close shops.

Congress supporters blocked an arterial crossing at Moulali in central Kolkata. They squatted on the road and burnt tyres. Senior leaders of Left parties such as CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kant Mishra, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya and Mr. Mannan took out a rally in the central part of the city in Entally area. 

Despite stray incidents and scuffles, life remained largely unaffected in the State. Attendance in government offices, including the Secretariat, was normal. The government issued a notification stating that absence from work would be considered a dies-non break in service. 

Speaking to journalists later in the day. CPI(M) leader Mohd Salim said that all those arrested by the police on Thursday and Friday should be released immediately. Asked about the excesses by Left supporters, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member said he did not support such actions, but passions were running high among Left supporters as hundreds of students were “brutally beaten” up by police .

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 8:18:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/normal-life-partially-affected-in-12-hour-bengal-bandh-called-by-left-front/article33817976.ece

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