West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee flew back to Kolkata in a private plane yesterday after declaring, “Delhi is not safe; I am sorry... I was badly manhandled but I cannot speak about it openly.”
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief was heckled on April 9 by student activists affiliated to the Left as she arrived at the offices of the Planning Commission. Her Finance Minister, Amit Mitra, was manhandled and is in hospital. She too had been admitted to a hospital in Kolkata yesterday.
The violent protests have triggered revenge attacks from Banerjee’s party, the TMC, which vandalised Left party offices in different parts of Bengal. Banerjee refused to accept her party’s involvement. “My party workers are passionate, but they listen to me. They will not indulge in violence when I have told them not to,” she insisted.
Banerjee, who cancelled a meeting with the PM after the protests, said she was unwell and opted out of yesterday’s appointment with Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
West Bengal’s Governor MK Narayanan has strongly condemned what he called “the shocking premeditated assault on the CM, the finance minister and other ministers of Bengal.”
TMC leaders have been urging cadres to remain peaceful today as they hold rallies against the Left. The CPI (M) has agreed that its students behaved reprehensively yesterday, but asked the TMC to stop targeting its offices and cadres.
The activists, who targeted Banerjee on April 9, were protesting against last week’s death of a Left activist, Sudipto Gupta, in police custody. Banerjee has described his death as an accident and “a small and petty matter.”