Fresh trouble in Nonadanga, cops lathicharge slum-dwellers

Despite Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's assurance otherwise, fresh trouble erupted in Nonadanga with the police resorting to lathi-charge when evicted slum dwellers tried to remove a barricade put up in the area.

According to a senior police official, 21 persons, including seven women and a child, were arrested after the incident. Several protesters were also injured in the clash. Rapid Action Force was deployed to control the situation.

Yesterday, Banerjee had in the state secretariat said that there would not be any eviction drive at Nonadanga slum on the eastern fringes of the city and warned those who were orchestrating such protests, including the "non government organisations financed with foreign funds", Amitabh Bhattacharya, one of the organising members of Ucched Pratirodh Committee, the organisation protesting eviction at Nonadanga, said the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) sealed the exit used by families rendered homeless by the authority.

"Slum-dwellers today tried to dismantle a barricade that was put up earlier at the site. When the police tried to intervene, they attacked us," a senior police officer said.

Bhattacharya, however, said, "The slum-dwellers tried to protest against the KMDA's action of putting barricades and sealing the exit route. It was a peaceful protest, but police attacked them and lathicharged."

The area is on a boil since early this month when a slum was demolished evicting several families for an ongoing project under the KMDA. Those evicted from the slums have resorted to protest marches, demonstrations and hunger strike since last three weeks.

Banerjee and some of her cabinet colleagues have blamed the Maoists for organising the protests. On Friday, she had said that those protesting are trying to take away the land that belongs to poor. Significantly, seven persons including a renowned scientist Partho Sarothi Ray were arrested on April 8 for taking part in the demonstrations. Ray is now out on bail.

Take in evicted slum-dwellers: Purnendu to activists

State Labour Minister and senior Trinamool leader Purnendu Bose has advised the intellectuals and human rights activists supporting the movement against "eviction" at Nonadanga and give shelter to the slum-dwellers at their own houses. Bose wrote an article, Nonadangar Rajniti (Politics of Nonadanga)' in the party mouthpiece, Jago Bangla, recently, in which he dubbed the Association of Protection of Human Rights (APDR) as a "Maoist outfit", which took to the street in protest against the arrest of 69 persons, including a scientist, Partha Sarathi Roy, who supported the movement of "evicted" slum dwellers.

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