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Mamata Faced Public Outrage In Ranaghat, Protesters Blocked Her Way On NH34

2015-03-16 08:39

Mamata Banerjee's convoy locked in the protest blockade on NH-34 in Ranaghat. Picture by ABHI GHOSH

Mamata locked in a vehicle due to blockade by protesters on NH 34 on Monday evening. Picture by ABHI GHOSH


Ranaghat, March 16: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the first time faced the heat of public outrage in her four years rule on Monday evening when she tried to leave for Kolkata without speaking to the locals after visiting the 74 year brutalized nun at the Ranaghat sub divisional hospital.

The chief minister was literally marooned marooned in white Mahindra Scorpio as a wave of angry crowd blocked her way on NH-34 near the Convent of Jesus and Mary where the brutality occurred two days ago.

A visibly embarrassed Mamata Banerjee lost her cool as she alleged that the blockade was a conspiracy by local BJP and CPI (M) activists. She tried to pacify mob, but failed and came out of vehicle daring the protestors to ‘touch her’ in an apparent show of extreme dejection.

For more than hour (6.50 pm to 7.10 pm) the chief minister's convoy remained immobile because of a march that appeared to have taken on a life of its own and transformed itself into a blockade over the rape and robbery at the Ranaghat Convent.

The locals who blocked chief minister’s way largely included students of different schools in Ranaghat and youths, who were demanding a clear talk with her and arrest of the assailants along with a CBI probe.

The reason of their anger, the repeated failure of the police, who first ignored the complaint of the school authority about the threat and later its failure to arrest even one, despite detaining at least 9 persons for questioning.

For Mamata Banerjee, the sight, surrounded by screaming protesters, for so long against her will was quite an unusual one.

The uproar in the air "We want justice", however, failed to win the heart of the chief minister who refused to talk to the screaming protestors and decided to return home in Kolkata.

While locked in the vehicle as the policemen trying their best to make way for her, the chief minister told few newsmen that "there are political elements here".

There were obviously political persons, a large number of Trinamul supporters of Don Bosco para, who joined the protest leaving their political prejudice. However, the chief minister only identified the ‘BJP and CPI (M)’ activists in the protest.

Initially, the chief minister tried to pacify the protesters by saying that the government was trying its best to catch the culprits but that did not help. Later the senior police officials, district magistrate Nadia and representatives of the school and a local Church appealed the protestors to make way for the chief minister, but that did not yield results.

"We simply wanted to talk to her for a minute. We expected that she would listen to our concerns before going back.... But she misunderstood us branded us BJP or CPM," said a Class X student of the school.

"This protest was spontaneous, it was not a planned blockade, eventually it turned to be so only due to the police who refused to allow us to talk to the chief minister”, said a student.

After waiting in the car for around 80 minutes - Mamata looked agitated and stepped halfway out of the vehicle and spoke in anger on a cordless microphone that the police handed her.

In a near replay of the show of defiance at North 24-Parganas' Kamduni - where angry women had confronted her over the rape and murder of a college girl in 2013 - the chief minister threw a challenge at the crowd on NH34.

She said: “I will wait to see how long you continue this asabhyata (indecent behavior)".

"The BJP and the CPM conspired and I know how to tackle this in two minutes. I have already promised that all possible actions are being taken. If you still want to hold me up, I am ready for it. I will stay here to see how long you can continue with your indecent behavior”, Mamata Banerjee told the crowd over the microphone.

Director-general of police G.M.P. Reddy then requested the people to make way for the chief minister. Finally, the crowd of students, former students, guardians and other residents allowed Mamata's convoy to leave for Kolkata.

Before leaving, Mamata instructed local Trinamul leaders, who already started flexing their muscles against the crowd, to organize a ‘protest walk’ tomorrow at the spot of blockade for harassing her.

The local Trinamul leadership said an agitation would be held in the same place at 2pm tomorrow to condemn the gherao of the chief minister's convoy.

Earlier she visited the school campus for five minutes. She arrived at the school at about 6.25 Pm and then took an “evening walk “for around 18 minutes along NH34 to reach the Ranaghat Sub divisional hospital in Anulia to see the 74 year old nun.

At the hospital, she told the newsmen: "The Sister is all right now.... Some people have been arrested and efforts are on to arrest the entire gang. We will take the strongest possible action,"

Senior police officer, however, rectified the statement of the chief  minister. A police officer said: “the chief minister had meant "detention", when she spoke of arrests”.

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