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West Bengal bandh today: Protesters, cops clash; Left calls 12 hour strike in West Bengal | Kolkata News

KOLKATA: Left-Congress student supporters fought a pitched battle with police on Thursday during their march to Nabanna, demanding jobs. Many people were injured in the clash. Left Front called a 12-hour general strike on Friday against “police atrocities”. Congress has supported the strike.

The entire S N Banerjee Road stretch till the Esplanade-Dorina crossing turned into a war zone marked with periodic advance and retreat by protesters against a hard chase by lathi-wielding cops. The mayhem continued for hours near the central business district, choking the weekday peak-hour traffic on the arterial roads of central Kolkata.
Police took the Injured student protestors to hospital. A few policemen were also injured by bricks thrown at them by protesters. Police arrested 25 protesters, including CPM MLA from Purba Panskura Sk Ibrahim Ali, who could make it to Nabanna to submit a memorandum to the government.
“The police crackdown reminds one of the Jalianwalabag massacre. The rally was cordoned off from all sides and then all hell broke loose. As many as 150 student protesters were injured,” said Left Front chairman Biman Bose. He pointed out that police didn’t spare the protesters from the All India Democratic Women’s Association the other day. CPM politburo member Mohammad Salim, too, came down on the Mamata Banerjee government.
Police initially used water cannons and burst tear gas shells to disperse protesters trying to break barricades at several points. Cops had put 25 pickets in place from Hastings Mazhar to Dorina crossing based on intelligence inputs that the student-youth rally could go berserk. Water cannons were positioned at six entry points to Nabanna from Kolkata and Howrah end and all the alleys in the rally route were sealed.
Trouble broke out after the rally beginning from College Street at 12.50pm reached S N Banerjee Road and approached the first barricade put up by police near Elite Cinema opposite the Kolkata Municipal Corporation headquarters.
Police initially used water cannons and burst tear gas shells to disperse protesters trying to break barricades at several points on the S N Banerjee Road. The battle of nerves finally led to a confrontation near the Kolkata Municipal Corporation headquarters. Senior police officers on duty alleged protesters started throwing brickbats at the police. The cops rushed to the other side of the barricade with lathis giving a hard chase to protesters.
Defiant students beat a retreat only to regroup themselves and make a comeback. Later in the afternoon, students and youths staged a dharna against the police crackdown at Moulali.

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