Activists of the Indian Secular Front (ISF), founded by Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui, engaged in a pitched battle with the police at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas after being stopped from holding a public meeting in the area. The outfit, formed ahead of the assembly polls in Bengal, claimed that some of its members suffered injuries during the clash.
A senior police officer said over 100 ISF workers hurled stones at him and his colleagues on Basanti Highway in Bhangar when they attempted to stop them from blocking the thoroughfare for the programme. One of the officers was injured in the melee, following which other police personnel chased away the agitators, he said.
ISF MLA from Bhangar, Naushad Siddiqui, who was slated to address the meeting, however, told reporters that the police brutally lathicharged his outfit’s members. “Initially, we were given permission for the meeting but the administration withdrew it a day ago, at the behest of local TMC leadership. As our members and supporters tried to make their way to Padmapukur ground, the proposed venue, they were stopped by the police. “When they protested they were subjected to unprovoked lathicharge,” the ISF leader said.
Siddiqui further stated that the ground was allotted to the local TMC leader for a football match. He vowed to raise the issue at the assembly.
According to the police officer, the ISF was denied permission, citing the Disaster Management Act. Local TMC leader Kaiser Ahmed claimed that Siddiqui was trying to disrupt peace in the area.