Army route march; Night curfew clamped on parts of Kolkata

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Kolkata, Nov 21 (UNI) The Army today staged route march and night curfew was clamped on five police station areas as widespread violence rocked parts of the city during an All India Minority Forum (AIMF)-sponsored agitation over the Nandigram incidents and demand for deportation of Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, which left at least 70 people injured.

At least 70 people, including 35 policemen, were injured, while more than 20 vehicles were torched or badly damaged as police fired teargas shells and lathicharged the mob that fought pitched battles with them and indulged in wanton destruction.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee periodically reviewed the situation at high level meetings throughout the day and ordered strengthening of security measures in other parts of the city also.

Describing the violence as ''the result of irresponsible leadership of the AIMF'', which called a three-hour shutdown in the city, the Chief Minister said the Army had to be called to ensure that the situation did not go out of control.

He said though the situation was now under control, night curfew from 2200 hrs to 0600 hrs had to be imposed to pre-empt any recurrence of the violence.

Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said six columns of Army jawans had been deployed in the affected areas, while Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty informed that parts of Entally, Beniapukur, Karaya, Topsia and Park Street police stations would be under the night curfew.

Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi described the violence as ''reprehensible''. He urged the people to refrain from all violence and help maintain peace and harmony.

However, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee described it as ''the manifestation of the people's ire against the CPI(M)-led Left Front Government on the Nandigram and Rizwanur Rahman issues''.

Alleging that the administration had totally failed to control the situation, Ms Banerjee said the trouble started not out of any political movement, but because of the people's anger.

Eds: Pls pick up suitably from earlier series.

UNI

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