Mamata Banerjee and her cabinet colleagues heckled outside Planning Commission office in Delhi
CPM always claims or projects itself to be a party which is in the forefront of protecting human rights, and fighting against human oppression. The same CPM and its student’s wing, SFI, which also claims to be a pro-women and pro-human rights outfit, heckled and showered abuses on a senior woman politician of the country who is Chief Minister of West Bengal, alongwith her two cabinet colleagues. This violence is, however, not a surprise as the CPM has always been in the forefront of violent attacks against its political opponents in its strongholds like Kannur in Kerala and Midnapur in West Bengal.
The CPM hooligans heckled Mamta Banerjee when she was on her way to the Planning Commission in New Delhi. Her Finance Minister Amit Mitra was heckled to the extent that his kurta torn in the melee and his vital documents were destroyed. In this clash, West Bengal’s Rural Affairs Minister Subrata Mukherjee also received injuries. Later, Shri Mitra was admitted to AIIMS after complaints of chest pain and high blood pressure.
As was expected, the violent attack incident received a sharp reaction from Trinamool Congress workers across West Bengal. They also staged a protest in New Delhi. Bharatiya Janata Party condemned the incident in strongest words. Meanwhile, Delhi Police registered a case at Parliament Street police station under sections of rioting, obstructing a public servant on duty and wrongful restraint.
According to reports, Mamat Banerjee along with her Finance Minister was on her way to meet the Planning Commission on the state’s annual plan size, when they were gheraoed at around 3.45 pm by a group of about 125 Left hooligans, who were protesting against the death of an SFI activist in Kolkata. The police had reportedly advised her to drive inside the Yojana Bhawan compound, but the bold lady chose to walk through the slogan-shouting and placard-wielding crowd into the building. While she was shielded by some policemen, Amit Mitra was pushed and jostled by a group of around 20 CPM goons, including some women. “I was attacked from all sides. Somebody even tried to take my wallet,” Mitra told mediapersons.
Irked by the scene that unfolded outside, Mamata complained the Minister of State for Planning Rajiv Shukla and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia; “You have created a new precedent here. My minister was assaulted. This is scandalous. There were 20 hooligans. Can you stop development of a state like this? They are hooligans. This is dirty politics.” She further said, “They tried to hit my head with an iron rod. Luckily, Firhad Hakim (state minister) shielded me and snatched the rod. Two-three people came from Kolkata and instigated the whole thing… They can kill me but they can’t stop me. I am a product of the student movement. They have tried to kill me several times in the past too.”
Within an hour of the attack, TMC workers organised protests in Kolkata. There are reports that at least 35 CPM offices were ransacked in North 24 Parganas, from where Mitra won the assembly election. About 10 party offices were torched in Coochbehar district. The vehicle of former CPM minister Sudarshan Roychoudhury was torched in Hooghly district. Former Land Reform Minister Abdul Rezzak Mollah’s vehicle was also ransacked. In several other districts also the TMC workers took out rallies and blocked the roads in protest.
Seeing widespread condemnation and public outrage, some top state CPM leaders including former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and opposition leader Suryakanta Mishra condemned the attack on Banerjee. But the senior leaders in Delhi kept a mum.
The widespread protest continued on second day also. Kolkata’s premier educational institution Presidency University was vandalised. Both the SFI and the TMC blamed each other for this violence. Governor MK Narayanan condemned the incident and asked the CPM to apologise to the Chief Minister. “This kind of attack on a democratically elected Chief Minister, Finance Minister and their cabinet colleagues is unprecedented in India’s modern history and is serious enough to warrant a public apology by the Politburo of CPM,” Shri Narayanan said.
BJP president Shri Rajnath Singh also condemned the attack by CPM goons. He attacked the Congress-led government for not providing enough protection during Mamata’s visit to the Capital. He demanded a thorough probe into the whole incident. “I condemn the incident strongly. If any political party or organisation wants to lodge its protest on an issue, there is a way to do so in the political system. But if anyone tries to do that resorting to violence, the government should take stern steps against them,” he said adding that “the national capital is slipping into a state of anarchy with each passing day. When CMs and finance ministers are not safe in Delhi, then one can imagine how safe the common man is.”