In Kolkata The southern part of Kolkata witnessed clashes between civilians and police on Saturday as government officials tried to evict residents of the Nonadanga slums which is on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass.
Over 20 people were arrested during the clashes which left several people, including police officers, injured. The clashes erupted when the slum dwellers tried to enter the area that had been barricaded by the police. Police resorted to lathicharge to control the crowd.
The Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed in the area to restore peace, police sources said. The sources added that the slum dwellers tried to dismantle a barricade at the site that had been put up earlier. “They attacked us when we intervened,” police said.
The violence comes a day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “I am with the poor and I work for them.” Banerjee had also said on Friday that Maoists had a hand in inciting the slum dwellers of Nonadanga during a recent protest against an eviction drive and hoped that good sense would prevail upon them. The Chief Minister also indicated that the alleged involvement of Debolina Chakraborty, leader of the Matangini Mahila Samiti, dubbed a Maoist connection to the case.
Molecular biologist Partha Sarathi Roy was also arrested for allegedly taking part in the protests on April 12 and released from jail after 10 days following a public outcry. Nonadanga, located in eastern Kolkata, has been on the boil since March 30 when the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority demolished a slum, evicting around 130 families. The first clash took place on April 4.
The Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim could not be contacted.