Kolkata: Activists Clash With Cops During March for Jobs, Industry

The police resorted to lathi-charge, firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd at Esplanade, Kolkata. 

2 min read

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bharadwaj

Students and youth wings of Left parties clashed violently with the Kolkata police as they marched to the State Secretariat (Nabanna) to ‘show a red card’ to the Mamata Banerjee government.

The police resorted to lathi-charge, firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd who clashed with the police at Dorina crossing in Kolkata’s Esplanade. Reportedly, stones and bricks were also pelted at the police, injuring several from both parties including the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

A 12-hour bandh has been called by Left Front Chairman Biman Bose, in West Bengal from 6 am to 6 pm to protest against the clashes.

The ‘Nabanna Abhiyaan’ was announced by 10 Left supporting youth and student organisations, including the SFI (Student’s Federation of India) and DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) to protest against the policies of the TMC-led West Bengal government, demanding jobs, industrialisation and also to show a ‘red card’ over the law and order condition in the state.  

Protestors who started converging in hundreds from different parts of the city to Esplanade, primarily from Howrah and Sealdah stations, were seen carrying ‘red cards’ as they marched. Some of them were also carrying sweets for the police. They claim that the state police don’t work for the welfare of the people anymore and that they are carrying the sweets in remembrance of the Left era in Bengal where they could (metaphorically) share sweets with the police.

The police had barricaded six entry points to Howrah, including Howrah Rail Museum, Banstala Ghat, Fersore Road, Mallik Fatak, Betar Mor, and Lakshminarayan Tala. There was constant drone surveillance at these points, along with stationed water cannons. The police had allowed the protestors to march only until Dufferin Road, which is approximately six kilometers short of Nabanna.

The protestors continued to occupy several areas in Esplanade despite the police using force to disperse them. However, the main clash happened at Esplanade’s Dorina crossing, where the protestors allegedly tried to break the two-tier barricade and push forward. 

The protestors were reportedly trying to make their way inside Nabanna when the police stopped them. According to reports, all DYFI members were arrested from the spot, and some others were detained.

Reportedly, the police are making arrangements to send the injured to the hospital.

Earlier in the day, Left supporters had gathered outside the State Secretariat in Howrah to raise slogans in protest. They were arrested by the police.

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