KOLKATA: Indian Secular Front (ISF) activists clashed with Kolkata police in the city’s Esplanade area on Saturday after a protest turned violent, officials said, injuring at least 19 policemen.
Police lathi-charged and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, an officer said, adding that Naushad Siddiqui, the lone ISF lawmaker who was leading the protest, was arrested.
The ISF workers were protesting against alleged attacks on their workers by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress in South 24 Parganas district.
At least 17 people, including ISF legislator Naushad Siddiqui, were arrested. The police had to use mild force and tear gas shells to bring the situation under control,” Kolkata Police Commissioner Vineet Goyal told reporters. “Around 19 policemen, including three senior IPS officers, were injured. Happened.”
Earlier in the day, a clash broke out between ISF and TMC workers over the hoisting of party flags on the occasion of the former’s foundation day in East Kolkata’s Bhangur, an officer from the Kolkata Leather Complex police station said.
Workers of both political parties attacked each other with sticks, sticks and bricks. There were allegations of crude bombs being thrown. Many vehicles were damaged. Later, heavy police force had to be deployed to bring the situation under control.
“The TMC led the attack. We have been in touch with the Leather Complex police station since morning. If the police wanted, they could have avoided it,” Siddiqui said.
TMC’s Arabul Islam, however, said: “It was the ISF workers who attacked first. Three of our party offices have been set on fire.
After the clash, a few hundred ISF workers arrived in Kolkata and protested at the Esplanade, demanding the arrest of Bhangur TMC leaders, including Islam.
An official familiar with the matter said the policemen were attacked when they arrested Siddiqui, forced to lathi charge and fire tear gas shells. A few ISF workers were also injured.
ISF personnel were beating a policeman. When our men went to rescue him, they were attacked. The police then had to intervene and use mild force. The accused have been booked under various sections of the IPC, including rioting, assault on police personnel and damage to public property.
This incident led to a political conflict between the TMC and the BJP.
“This is planned by Mamata Banerjee’s government. Kolkata police do not recognize any body and take orders only from Mamata Banerjee and her nephew,” said BJP lawmaker and opposition leader Svendhu Adhikari. told reporters.
Opposition parties are failing to compete with Mamata Banerjee politically. The opposition is taking the law into its own hands, damaging property and attacking the police to remain politically relevant,” Santanu Sen, TMC MP, told reporters.