By NewsGram Staff Writer
Kolkata: On Monday, over 20 people, including six policemen, were injured when a demonstration by civic police volunteers took a violent turn in West Bengal’s Malda district.
Around 5,000 civic police volunteers had taken out the procession in order to submit a memorandum of their demands to the Superintendent of Police Prasun Banerjee. The demands included regularisation of payments and the reinstatement of some of them who had been discharged of their duties.
With police blocking the procession citing they did not take prior permission, an altercation ensued which snowballed into a clash.
Police resorted to a baton charge after the volunteers allegedly pelted stones.
Prasun Banerjee said, “Six of our men have been injured. We have arrested seven people in this connection.”
According to police, 15 volunteers sustained injuries in the clash.
However, an organisation of civic volunteers claimed that at least 75 of them sustained serious injuries in the “brutal” baton charge and 65 of them were arrested.
“Members of the West Bengal Civic Police Association (WBCPA) led by state president Sanjoy Poria had peacefully assembled to submit a deputation to the police superintendent about their demands. But police brutally lathi-charged causing severe injuries to 75 civic volunteers and also arrested more than 65 of them,” said Swapan Ganguly.
Ganguly is the convener of the Ossongothito Khetra Shramik Sangrami Mancha — an organisation of unorganised sector workers, to which the WBPCA is affiliated.
The Mancha demanded immediate release of the arrested volunteers as well as reinstating the dismissed volunteers and regularisation of their pay, condemning the police action.
“We wrote to the English Bazar police station on September 8 about our programme, but they did not respond to that. The assembly was peaceful, police needlessly resorted to baton charge”, Poria said, dismissing the claims of the police of not having prior permission.
There are over 1,25,000 civic police volunteers in the state and are mainly engaged to assist police in controlling road traffic.
(With inputs from IANS)