Bedlam in Bengal assembly over attack on ex-minister

Kolkata, Dec 11: The West Bengal assembly witnessed pandemonium for the third day running Wednesday as opposition Left Front (LF) members protested the attack on a former minister, allegedly by ruling Trinamool Congress activists.

Naren Dey, a minister in the erstwhile LF government, alleged he was beaten up in the office of his party All India Forward Bloc in the Dhaniakhali area of Hooghly district Sunday (Dec 8).

The Trinamool has, however, claimed that its workers had nothing to do with the attack.

Agitated LF members left their seats, raised slogans and moved towards the speaker’s podium, carrying pictures of the bruised face of Dey and condemning Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

However, speaker Biman Banerjee said he could not force any minister to give a statement.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said in the house that the administration would take all steps to bring the culprits to book, even as he claimed that the police’s hands were tied with the complaint not being lodged properly.

“The person who lodged the FIR, Dec 9, claimed before the Hooghly police superintendent the next day, that he does not recollect who had assaulted Dey,” he said in the statement.

The minister said on the day of the attack, the only FIR was recorded by a Trinamool Congresswomen’s wing leader who alleged Forward Bloc members had passed lewd complaints against some locals.

“The other complaint was made the next day, not by the victim (Dey) himself, but someone else. Even the latter retracted the statement. What possibly can the administration do?” he asked.

Leader of the opposition in the House Surjya Kanta Mishra took up the matter in the mention hour and demanded a statement from the government.

Mishra, a doctor by training, accused a state-run hospital of issuing a discharge certificate that said Dey had no bone injury, even as the X-ray revealed a hand fracture.

Later, interacting with reporters, Chatterjee accused the LF of sparking trouble in the assembly with the sole aim of disrupting House proceedings.

“The state government’s statement (on the attack on Naren Dey) was not important to them. They only resorted to shouting and tearing papers. They only wanted to disrupt proceedings of the assembly,” he said.

Mishra, on the other hand, demanded action against the hospital authorities and claimed Dey even had an eye injury.

“But they constantly pressurised Dey to go home. When he refused, they gave the discharge certificate. There should be a probe into who put pressure on the hospital officials,” he said.

Mishra also alleged that microphones of the opposition members were being switched off whenever they said things which were unpalatable to the government.

He also ridiculed the ministers present in the house for not daring to speak on the issue. “If they cannot give statements or answers, what business do they have to be ministers. They have neither the authority nor the courage to speak in the House.”