Kolkata, November 21 Curfew has been imposed on many parts of Kolkata following the violence that gripped the city this morning. Mullick Bazar, Ripon Street, Park Circus and Beg Bagan areas will remain under curfew from 10 PM and 6 AM. Earlier in the day, activists of the All India Minority Forum protesting the violence in Nandigram and Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen’s visa extension on Wednesday (November 21) indulged in brickbatting, blocked roads and clashed with police. As the disturbances spread, the West Bengal government decided to call in the Army to control the situation. CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called for restraint and peace in the state.
The President of the All India Minority forum, however, denied that his organization had anything to do with the violence. Speaking to a news channel, he blamed the violence on ‘miscreants.’ The CM held a high level meeting at the Writer’s building in Kolkata as the violence spread and decided to request for 6 columns of Army to rein in the situation. The ramifications of the sudden outburst of street violence were seen in national capital as Rajya Sabha was adjourned while the Lok Sabha discussed Nandigram.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Jawed Shamim was injured when the police tried to lift the blockade on the arterial AJC Bose Road. The office of CPM has been ransacked by the mobs. Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel swung into action after the police failed to control the mob, hundreds of whom pelted stones and empty glass bottles from lanes and by-lanes.
There are a few schools in the vicinity and parents waited anxiously to see their children safe, leading to a traffic jam. Several policemen, journalists and protesters have been injured. There are reports of buses and trams being stoned by the protesters. After a lathicharge failed to bring order on the streets, teargas shells were lobbed at the agitators, police said. The situation was still tense but stated to be under control, they added. However, there were major traffic snarls in the southern and central areas of the city during the morning rush hour.
The All India Minority Forum and Furfurasharif Muzadeddia Anath Foundation, which called for `paralysing` the state for three hours from 9.00 am today, resorted to road blocks in some other districts including Howrah, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas.
State IGP (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said that most of the blockades have been lifted without using any force, but two in neighbouring Howrah district were still on.
Train services were not affected anywhere in the state due to the agitation, Kanojia added.