statesman news service
KOLKATA, 13 JUNE: The commissioner of the city police today showed video footage to the media to demolish a claim by a group of women activists owing allegiance to the CPI-M that they had been lathicharged while demonstrating outside the chief minister’s residence.
However, a spokesperson of the agitating organisation denied later in the day any allegation of lathicharge had been made and complained the police had roughed up the demonstrators and tore the clothes of many of them.
Around 8.15 a.m. 30 demonstrators assembled outside the CM’s residence at Kalighat to protest against the Barasat gangrape and murder.
Police arrested 13 of them from the spot and took them to the Lalbazar central lock-up and later released them on bail.
Ms Ratnabali Roy, who was among those arrested, said: “It was a peaceful demonstration, but police acted in a barbaric manner. They dragged us, tore our clothes and even slapped us. We were only 30 women but a huge number of police, most of them being men, misbehaved with us.”
Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purakayastha held a press conference at Lalbazar in the afternoon and showed a CCTV footage. He said the video recording clearly showed there was no lathicharge nor any harassment by the police. All demonstrations are now being videographed to give reply to baseless allegations, said a senior police officer.
“Since Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is entitled to Z+ security and there is a threat perception, we would not take any chances. Moreover, to control traffic in the area it is necessary to disperse activists. Someone’s residence is not an ideal place to submit deputation. They can either submit it to Writers’ Buildings or to Lalbazar which we can hand over to the appropriate authority,” said Mr Purakayastha.
Ms Roy, however, said there were only 30 activists and the question of disrupting traffic didn’t arise. The activists belonging to a NGO, Maitree, assembled outside the CM’s residence to seek an appointment with her to submit a letter of protest against increasing incidents of rape and murder in the state. The activists protested particularly against the incidents of rape and murder in Barasat and Krishnaganj in Nadia within a gap of a few days.
They had earlier tried to hand over the letter at Writers’ Buildings on 10 June, but the CM had refused to meet the delegation, said another activist. According to the group the recent incidents of rape and murder have exposed the appalling law and order situation in the state and the administration’s failure to ensure safety and security to women. The members of Maitree wanted to draw the chief minister’s personal attention, she said.
Condemning the demonstration, Trinamul Congress all-India general secretary Mukul Roy said the state government had zero-tolerance to violence on women and took immediate action to nab the culprits of the Barasat rape case.
Mr Roy cited the rape cases of Bantala, Dhantala, Ghokshadanga, Singur and Nandigram, whereas under the present dispensation the culprits involved in rape cases at Balurghat, Malda and Haldibari were arrested and tried in fast track courts.
The Trinamul women’s wing will organise a candle-light march from Park Street to Mayo Road tomorrow evening to protest against the “slander” campaign against chief minister Mamata Banerjee.