Congress workers booked for vandalism in Murshidabad

Kolkata, Feb 8 (IANS) Police Friday filed a case against Congress activists who vandalised the district magistrate's bungalow premises in West Bengal's Murshidabad district in the presence of Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury Thursday.

Angry at District Magistrate Rajeev Kumar for not personally meeting a deputation from Congress workers protesting the death of a party worker in police custody, the activists forcibly entered his official residence in Baharampur town, smashing flower pots, uprooting plants and stoning public vehicles.

Chowdhury, who was leading the demonstration outside the bungalow, jumped on to a vehicle and was seen trying to pacify the workers.

After the violence, the district magistrate accepted the memorandum in person.

District Superintendent of Police Humayun Kabir said the complaint has been filed against 1,200 Congress supporters. "Some of them have been named in the FIR under certain bailable and non-bailable sections."

The sections include criminal trespass, rioting and attacking on-duty police personnel, he said.

However, Kabir refused to answer specific queries about whether Chowdhury's name figured in the FIR.

"This is a secret matter. I cannot divulge this. There is a chance that they may flee if it becomes public that their names figure in the FIR," he said.

But Chowdhury seemed belligerent while denying that his party workers had vandalised the DM's bungalow.

"I am a Congress worker first, and then a union minister. When my workers are being killed in custody, I cannot sit idle. There was no vandalism. But the situation could have turned really ugly. I risked my life to stop my workers who were really angry after the DM refused to accept the deputation in person."

"Our state level leaders were also present. The DM was repeatedly requested to come and take the deputation. But he did not. I am stunned by his audacity. How can he behave like this with people's representatives?"

"In such situations things do not remain under the control of leaders. But the situation could have been avoided easily had the DM cared to show a little more courtesy to political workers and elected people's representatives," he said.

Chowdhury said he was not bothered if his name was in the FIR or not. "During the previous Left Front government, lots of such baseless cases were filed against Congress workers. The Trinamool Congress regime is just carrying forward such a policy."

"If they frame us, we will start a movement in Murshidabad and across West Bengal," Chowdhury said.

Meanwhile, Trinamool MP and former union minister Sultan Ahmed demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sack Chowdhury.

Refering to the Feb 23 by-polls in the district's Rejinagar constituency, Ahmed urged the Election Commission to bar Chowdhury's entry in the district till the election process was over.

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