Kolkata (The Hawk): A large police detachment forcibly evicted protesters demonstrating in front of the West Bengal Board of Elementary Education (WBBPE) office here at midnight over alleged irregularities in the appointment of primary teachers in the state.
On Thursday evening, a large police detachment arrived at the protest site, advising demonstrators to end their sit-in and fast-unto-death movement, citing a Calcutta High Court single-judge bench judgement to uphold Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The court ruling, however, did not direct the police to remove the demonstrators.
To evade the imposition of Section 144, which prohibits gatherings of four or more persons in one area, the demonstrators took an unconventional approach. They dispersed into small groups (fewer than four people in each) and began protesting while keeping a reasonable gap between two groupings. Meanwhile, leaders from major opposition parties, including the BJP, CPI(M), and Congress, arrived to the demonstration site to express support with the protesters.
In the face of the presence of opposition leaders and a slew of reporters, the police contingent present began to show signs of withdrawing for the day. However, at approximately 12.15 a.m. (Friday), the police force returned to the scene and began dragging the demonstrators across the streets. The agitators staged a futile resistance protest, resulting in significant bruising for some, including ladies.
Meanwhile, opposition party officials hurried back to the scene, warning of statewide protests against such a late-night police raid.
On late Thursday evening, the office of Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava admitted the plea of protesters' counsels contesting the single-judge bench order to keep Section 144 in place on an emergency basis. The case will only be heard on Friday.
The opposition leaders have warned that there will be twin battles over this development beginning on Friday, the one in court and the second on the streets.
(Inputs from Agencies)