A farmers' rally called by the opposition Left Front here on Thursday turned violent with protestors and the police engaging in pitched battles and stone pelting leading to a number of leaders and workers and policemen getting injured.
Leader of Opposition and CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra and Left Front chairman and veteran Marxist leader Biman Bose were caught in the melee and claimed they were hit by bricks as agitators and police engaged in pitched battles.
CPI-M Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee claimed that over 100 people were injured.
Led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist -affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and supported by other Left Front affiliated peasant fronts, the "Nabanna Abhiyan" - a march to the state secretariat - was to press for their 17-point charter of demands including issues such as farmer suicides and rehabilitation of farmers ruined by the recent floods in West Bengal.
Taken out from four spots, two in the city - Rani Rashmoni Road and Kidderpore - and two from neighbouring Howrah district, the rallies turned violent as police resorted to baton-charging and used water cannons to disperse the agitators who, in their bid to march towards Nabanna, broke police barricades.
While the Left Front dubbed police as Mamata Banerjee's "Gestapo", the ruling Trinamool Congress accused the Left leaders of instigating trouble.
"Police have acted like Trinamool volunteers. Just to break a peaceful agitation, they rained batons on peasants," said Bose.
Banerjee claimed that over 100 Left activists were injured, some of them grievously in the police action.
"Police have acted much like Hitler's Gestapo. Over 100 people have been injured... many of them have their bones shattered, there is complete anarchy," said Ritabrata Banerjee after visiting the injured at the SSKM Hospital.
Mishra claimed police did not even spare the women and the elderly and went on a "baton charging spree".
Condemning the protest, senior Trinamool leader and Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee claimed that the Left leaders have been planning to create trouble for long and even carried bricks and bombs with them.
"The rally was not taken out with any political aim or to press for legitimate demands, but it was solely for the purpose of creating anarchy. Their motive is evident from the fact that they carried bombs and bricks with them," said Mukherjee alleging several Left leaders carried bricks.
"Biman Bose claims he has been injured, he may be but not because of police but because of his party's goons. The police resorted to only a mild baton charge in self defence after the agitators broke away one barricade after the other," added Mukherjee.
Ridiculing Mukherjee's charges, CPI-M Lok Sabha member Mohammad Salim asserted the Trinamool was rattled by the massive public response to the rally.
"The chief minister has already run away and his remarks are a clear indication of how much the Trinamool has been rattled by the response to the rally," said Salim.