Kolkata, April 12 (IANS) Upset over various incidents ranging from the Park Street rape case to attack on human rights organisations, intellectuals of Kolkata, including a Trinamool Congress MP, Thursday hit the streets in protest against the 11-month-old Trinamool regime in the state.
"There are lots of differences between the old Mamata Banerjee and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The people of this state have thrown away those who have tried to throttle the voice of protest," said Asim Chattopadhay, writer and former Maoist at the gathering on the premises of the Bangla Academy.
Several people were injured and many arrested after a procession led by a human rights organisation in protest against the eviction of slum dwellers in east Kolkata's Nonadanga area was allegedly attacked by miscreants linked to the Trinamool Congress as
police stood by as mute spectators.
The police, however, denied any knowledge of miscreants backed by the Trinamool Congress beating up the processionists.
The human rights organisation - Association for Protection of Democratic Rights - claimed they were mercilessly beaten by the miscreants and later by the police.
"It is really an irony that today I, along with (noted educationist) Sunanda Sanyal, have hit the streets against atrocities of the government. Both Sunandada and I were with Mamata when she started her protest against land acquisition in Singur," said Kabir Suman, Trinamool Lok Sabha member and famed singer.
"We had supported Trinamool Congress before elections. But the fact is is that they are carrying the same tradition of the former Left regime. This is really unfortunate," said Sanyal, who had staunchly supported Banerjee during her years of struggle against the Left Front regime.
The state government especially Mamata Banerjee had drawn severe criticism from all sections of the society after she termed the Park Street Rape case as "cooked up" to malign the state government. Further, she accused a specific media house of hatching the conspiracy. Later on, police conceded that the victim had been raped.
"The situation is really suffocating... those who protest against the state government are termed as agents of the opposition. The trend is the same as that of the Left regime," said Kaushik Sen, eminent actor.
Writers Bolan Gangopadhyay and Jaya Mitra, and film and theatre director Suman Mukhopadhyaya also addressed the gathering, where some evicted inhabitants of Nonadanga slum were present.
Earlier in a statement, leading Bengali poet Sankah Ghosh said: "The government cannot throttle the voice of protest by stopping protest rallies. Government should learn to take criticism."
The Trinamool leadership, however, claimed that the allegation of the involvement of Trinamool activists in the incident is totally baseless.
"The allegation is totally baseless. Why will Trinamool supporters attack them? Will the state government fall by the protest of an organization close to Maoists," said state sports minister Madan Mitra.
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