In a shocking incident, massive violent clashes erupted between the protesters and police in the Malda region of West Bengal on Wednesday. During the clashes, protesters also set a police vehicle ablaze on National Highway 34.
The police were trying to disperse off the Left and Congress party supporters who were protesting in favor of the nationwide 'Bharat Bandh' that was called by the unions on Wednesday. Reports also suggested that the police resorted to lathi-charge to control the violent protesters.
The clash has erupted after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday rejected the bandh and called out CPI(M) for wanting to gain 'cheap publicity' by calling the 'Bharat Bandh'.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed Congress and the Left Front for alleged violence and vandalism during Wednesday's Bharat Bandh in the state. Road and rail blockades were reported from several parts of West Bengal during the bandh.
"In the name of protest, they are destroying public property. This is hooliganism, not agitation. Today as the country reels under an economic crisis, this strike further hurts ordinary people. A peaceful protest is welcomed but violence and vandalism are unacceptable. They think occasional strikes will give them cheap publicity but this is political self-harm," CM Mamata Banerjee told reporters at Gangasagar.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: CPIM has no ideology. Planting bombs on railway tracks is 'gundagardi'. In the name of movement, commuters are being beaten up and stones are being pelted. This is 'dadagiri', not a movement. I condemn this. #BharatBandh pic.twitter.com/wg0Jiac8Nn— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
"Bandhs called by them(Left parties) earlier were rejected. They want to get cheap publicity by calling bandh and hurling bombs on buses. Instead of gaining this publicity, political death is better," she said.
CM Mamata Banerjee asserted that the police will take stern action against those indulging in violence and vandalism. "The police will use proportionate measures to deal with vandalism. I appeal to political parties to peacefully protest." She also stated that her TMC government is in full support of the idea behind agitation and will continue to do so.