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CPM activists attack Mamata, minister with iron rods in Delhi

CPM activists attack Mamata, minister with iron rods in Delhi
Banerjee and Mitra were going to meet Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia at around 3:45 pm for annual state plan discussions.

‘They had an iron rod. They tried to hit me,’ Mamata later said at a press conference. ‘They can kill me but they can’t stop me. I am a product of the students’ movement,’ she said. Protesting the death of a SFI activist earlier in the month in Kolkata, around 150 members of the CPI(M)-affiliate SFI waited for Mamata outside Yojana Bhawan raising slogans against her.

The agitation was led by CPM leader Ritabrata Banerjee and SFI state secretary Debabrata Das. The attack on the Trinamool leaders sparked off angry protests in Bengal. Banerjee has appealed for calm.

Soon after this incident, the prime minister Manmohan Singh called up Mamata. Party insiders told Millennium Post that she told Singh that she had cancelled her meeting with him because she was feeling unwell.

Amit Mitra was hospitalised at AIIMS after he complained of chest pain, said a party source. Activists had heckled 62-year-old Mitra, when he was trying to enter the building. The protesters tore his kurta while manhandling him. ‘They were attacking me from every direction,’ Mitra later said.

Delhi police has registered a case against unknown persons for attacking Mitra and not against any CPM leader.

Mitra was accompanied by panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee and urban development minister Firhad Hakim, who were also attacked.

‘They are beating me, they are beating my minister,’ Mamata told reporters. ‘This is the planning commission, this is not a political office, why are all these people here?’ she added.

Upset with the incident and lack of adequate police presence, Mamata complained to Ahluwalia and minister of state for planning Rajiv Shukla. ‘You have created a new precedent here. My minister was assaulted. This is scandalous. There were 20 hooligans. Can you stop development of this state like this. Delhi is not safe,’ she told them.

‘I never expected this type of hooliganism. I have a right to meet my prime minister, my finance minister, the planning commission. If such things happen then Planning Commission cannot organise meetings,’ she said. Mamata attacked the Delhi Police also for ‘poor’ arrangements.

While Ahluwalia apologised to Mamata for the ‘unruly protests outside our office’, Rajiv Shukla told reporters later that the government condemns the incident in ‘strongest possible words’ and the Plan panel officials have already taken up the issue with the Delhi Police.
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