WB to withdraw cases against agitators

WB to withdraw cases against agitators

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a rally organised to observe Martyrs’ Day in the recent assembly polls, at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on Thursday. PTI

The announcement, coming close on the heels of the decision of the state government to release 52 political prisoners including a Maoist, was welcomed with a thunderous applause by a massive crowd that gathered at the rain-soaked Brigade Parade Ground to observe the Martyrs’ Day. The Brigade rally also marked the landslide victory of the Trinamool Congress in the April/May Assembly elections.

Stating that it was part of the TMC poll pledge, Banerjee, however, cautioned the party supporters against indulging in violence or corruption. “I’ll not tolerate either of the two,” she observed.

The chief minister made it clear that even though the Marxists had indulged in murder to terrorise people, there was no place for reprisals in a democracy.

“People of West Bengal have already handed out a strong punishment to the CPM (by banishing them from power). There is no need to take the law into your hands as it will thwart progress and developmental initiatives of the government,” she told the crowd that swayed every time she disclosed one or the other programmes of the TMC-Congress alliance government that was voted to power with a massive mandate couple of months back. The new government, incidentally, has completed two months in office on Wednesday.

Mamata, after taking oath on May 20 last, had announced that the victory celebrations would be held on July 21 to coincide with the Martyrs’ Day giving a new dimension to the struggle and sacrifices which the party had passed through since 1993. Thirteen youth Congress supporters fell to police bullet on July 21, 1993, during the Writers’ Buildings “blockade” aimed at ousting the Marxists from power.

Braving the inclement weather and downpour in several parts of the city and elsewhere in the state, a large number of TMC supporters, carrying party flags and cut-outs of the party chief, assembled at the sprawling ground where corporation engineers had to install pumps to drain water to facilitate the gathering.

Several artistes from the Bengal tinsel town and intellectuals including Magsaysay winner Mahasweta Devi attended the rally.

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