Gorkhatimes

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Bandh supporters run riot in Siliguri CPM councillors driven out of SMC

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 18, 2009

A bandh supporter enters the head post office in Siliguri after it was vandalised on Friday.

A bandh supporter enters the head post office in Siliguri after it was vandalised on Friday.

Siliguri, July 17: Congress supporters allegedly drove two CPM councillors out of their chambers at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, ransacked the head post office and damaged seven vehicles during the 12-hour bandh today.

In the morning, the pro-bandh supporters, who assembled at Hashmi Chowk and shouted slogans against the Mangalkot incident, ransacked five private vehicles.

The strike disrupted train and flight services in north Bengal. Two flights bound for Calcutta from Bagdogra were cancelled. The Darjeeling Mail reached New Jalpaiguri around 11.30am after it was detained at Aluabari for some hours, Several other long-distance trains were also held up in different stations, officials said.

Around 10am, a group of youths went to Siliguri Head Post Office and broke the main door and glass panes at the counters. A North Bengal State Transport Corporation bus, which was on way to Baghajatin Park to pick up defence personnel, was the next target. It was stoned and ransacked in front of police. A truck was also damaged at Champasari.

An hour-and-a-half later, a group of Congress members entered the SMC premises. They allegedly shoved Paritosh Das, member, mayor-in-council (urban poverty eradication), and Moushumi Hazra, the chairperson of the borough committee-III, and drove them out of their chambers. Some of the employees, who were in the office, were asked to leave immediately, a civic employee present there said. “As the SMC is run by the CPM, we cannot recall an incident when the supporters of any anti-Left party have entered the building and forced to close down the departments during bandh.”

Mayor Nurul Islam accused the Congress supporters and councillors led by Darjeeling district president Shankar Malakar of creating the trouble. “Our councillors were assaulted and the employees were dragged from their seats. We will file police complaints against them. Two drivers were also heckled,” he said.

After the incident, CPM members started sloganeering in front of their party office. Within minutes, a procession by Congress and Chhatra Parishad supporters and a motorcycle rally of Intuc workers passed the street, creating tension. Senior police officers, however, tackled the situation. “The strike was a total success,” Malakar said.

The CPM leaders brought out two rallies in quick succession to protest against the incident at the SMC, which covered short distance on Hill Cart Road.

“Whatever happened today has left us stunned,” CPM’s urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said. “The police have failed to deliver their duties.”

Source: The Telegraph

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