Claim of rally ban in Haldia

Haldia, Jan. 14: CPM leaders in Haldia have alleged that Trinamul-backed goons threatened them with dire consequences if they brought out any rally in the industrial town, two days after suspected activists of the ruling party pulled down a stage for a DYFI meeting.

The leaders said a gang of youths on motorcycles went to the houses of at least 100 CPM activists and asked them not to speak out against policies of the government.

The DYFI, the CPM's youth wing, had brought out a rally yesterday to protest the government's perceived lax attitude towards industry. Most of the activists threatened last night had taken part in the rally, which was organised 25km from the place where Bengal Leads will commence tomorrow.

"These people had taken part in the rally in Sutahata yesterday. Trinamul activists on bikes went to the houses of at least 100 of our workers and threatened them. Some were also beaten up," said Sudarshan Manna, the secretary of the CPM zonal committee in Haldia.

According to a CPM worker in Haldia's Tentulberia, around a dozen youths backed by Trinamul went to his house last evening.

"Around 8pm, 12 Trinamul activists came to my house. They called me outside. They slapped and punched me and told me that if I attended any CPM meeting in Haldia, I would be killed. They asked my wife to ensure I leave the CPM," he said.

The CPM worker said he wanted to go to the police but was persuaded by his wife to stay at home.

CPM leaders in Haldia had sought police protection yesterday after the DYFI stage was pulled down on Saturday night. One of the workers who was roughed up while placing loudspeakers had said: "The Trinamul activists told me that only they can bring out rallies in Haldia."

Another CPM worker in Haldia today said he spent the night at a relative's place after his wife warned him that some Trinamul supporters had come home looking for him.

Leader of the Opposition in Haldia municipality and Trinamul leader Debaprasad Mondal said his party workers had not threatened any body. "The CPM is spreading canards against our party on the eve of Bengal Leads," he said.

CPM leaders in Haldia said the police hardly took any step despite a complaint yesterday accusing Trinamul workers of pulling down the DYFI stage on Saturday night.

The CPM's Haldia municipality chief Tamalika Ponda Seth said: "The police are not taking any action against those who pulled down the DYFI dais. We have also lodged complaints of attacks and threats on our party workers."

Additional superintendent of police Amitava Maity said: "We have investigated all the complaints and have also made some arrests. We are investigating the complaints of threats. If anybody is found guilty, action will be taken."

CPM leaders, however, remained tight-lipped when asked if they planned to stage a dharna outside the Bengal Leads venue, a claim the party had made yesterday.

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