Kolkata

Bengal rocked by protests, CM Banerjee warns against vandalism


Violence erupts at Kona Epressway in connection with protest agsinst Citizenship(amendment) bill at Kona Expressway Howrah,West Bengal on December 14,2019.Express photo.

Protests against National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the new citizenship law continued in West Bengal, with sporadic incidents of vandalism at railway stations. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee issued a statement, saying action will be taken against those who destroy government properties.

However, the CM herself will lead several rallies against NRC and the new citizenship law in Kolkata from Monday.

“Please protest in a democratic way. Do not take law into your own hands. Do not block roads and rail lines. Those who are making trouble and taking law into their own hands will not be spared. We will take action against those who are setting fire to buses or pelting stones at trains,” Banerjee said in a statement on Saturday.

State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim told to mediapersons, “I appeal to all my friends that please do not strengthen BJP’s hand by spreading anarchy in the state. People in the state are suffering after roads are being blocked and buses set on fire. We will have to fight against the new citizenship law and NRC. Some people are instigating all this… Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called for a rally against NRC and citizenship law. If you want to protest, join Mamata Banerjee.”

Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday urged Banerjee to demonstrate her true faith and allegiance to the Constitution in the present situation. He tweeted, “.@MamataOfficial. Distressed and pained at events unfolding in the State. Chief Minister as per oath has to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India..’ and I as Governor will ‘to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law’.”

At Kona Expressway, agitators set fire to 15 vehicles, including government buses and police jeeps. (Express photo)

Protests and sporadic vandalism continued for the second day in several parts of the state. Agitators blocked Kona Expressway and National Highway 6 in Howrah at different places. At Salap in the Howrah district, protesters blocked road, burnt tyres and hurled stones at policemen who had to resort to lathicharge and lob tear gas shells to disperse the mob. At Kona Expressway, agitators set fire to 15 vehicles, including government buses and police jeeps.

In Howrah’s Sankrail station, protesters set the ticket counter on fire and damaged the signalling system.

In Murshidabad district, empty trains that were standing at Krishnapur station were set on fire by protesters on Saturday evening. According to sources, five trains were set on fire. However, the railway authorities are yet to officially confirm the numbers. Protesters also pelted stones at Shamshergunj police station and tried to ransack it, following which additional police personnel were deployed in the area. Protesters continued to ransack parts of the station and set the railway machinery on fire at Beldanga railway station.

Buses set fire ,Road blocked at Kona Epressway in connection with protest agsinst Citizenship(amendment) bill at Kona Expressway Howrah,West Bengal on December 14,2019.Express photo.

Later in the day, the CM made a fresh appeal saying, “Once again I appeal to all not to resort to violence and disturb public order, tranquillity and peace. It must be kept in mind that police stations, railway stations, airports, post offices, government offices, public transport and likes are public property. Vandalising public as well as private property in any form will not be tolerated and will strictly be dealt according to law…”

Till 7 pm on Saturday, a total of 28 Mail and Express trains were cancelled. Railway authorities stated that they will run a special train from Howrah at 12.30 am for stranded passengers and head for Yeshwantpur, via Asansol, Aadra and Bhadrak.

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Article source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/bengal-protest-mamata-banerjee-citizenship-law-6167509/

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