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Protesters hurt in scuffle with cops

Protest march taken out towards the state secretariat, demanding employment for the youth; 62 injured.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

At least 62 Left Front youth and student wing supporters were injured after clashes broke out between the police and the Left Front activists near Mallick Fatak in Howrah on Friday.

The protesters had taken out a march towards the state secretariat demanding employment for jobless youth.

They alleged that cops baton-charged them and as many as six were critically injured after some miscreants, brought from outside, pelted stones on them. Activists of the CPI(M)’s student and youth wings on Thursday began a march to the state secretariat demanding employment for all, party sources said.

The march began from Singur in Hooghly district, the venue of the abandoned Tata Nano car plant. Workers of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the students and youth wings of the CPI (M) joined the march on Thursday afternoon.

They sought answers from chief minister Mamata Banerjee on rising unemployment in the state. The rally was scheduled to culminate at the state secretariat on Friday afternoon. DYFI state secretary Sayandeep Mitra told reporters that unemployed youths signed applications seeking answers for the government’s failure to provide jobs. “(Chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s) promises of bringing economic development to West Bengal have failed miserably.

Several business summits were organised, but not a single investment has been made in the state. Lakhs of youths are unemployed,” Mr Mitra said. DYFI and SFI planned to submit thousands of applications seeking jobs and answers from Miss Banerjee, under the TMC’s “Didi ke Bolo” public outreach initiative.

After 19 kilometres, they were stopped this evening at Dankuni. The Mamata Banerjee government has been sitting on the “debris of industry” in Singur, Mr Mitra claimed. Meanwhile, Left Front chairman Biman Bose visited Howrah Mission Hospital, where injured students were admitted. He said that 12 Left Front-backed youths and student activists were attacked by police.

“Even unidentified miscreants threw stones at them from rooftops of the roadside buildings to destroy the peaceful movements. Both TMC goons and police jointly attacked the Left Front students and youths activists. TMC-led government always attacks peaceful democratic movements in West Bengal,” he said. CPI-M politburo member Muhammad Salim said the ‘anarchist’ chief minister always tries to trample any movement organised by the opposition.

He further said Nabanna has been made a fortress, so that nobody can reach there to lodge their complaints. “All jobs are being given to those candidates who can offer bribes after passing SSC, PSC and other examination. An impartial investigation is needed to bust this racket. Rate of unemployment is high in the state. People have to pay ‘cut money’ to get their minimum benefit,” he said.