(With additional inputs and minor edit in second para) Kolkata, Jan 8 (PTI) CPI(M) Politburo member Mohammed Salim on Wednesday claimed TMC cadres and police personnel had indulged in violence in West Bengal, specially in Malda district, during the nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions after being instigated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The ruling TMC has denied the charge and said it was the CPI(M) and Congress which had indulged in violence and were resorting to falsehood to 'hide their sins'.
Salim keeping up his attack against the state government, said it has taken cue from the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh to frame protestors.
He also denied that Left cadres and Congress workers were involved in arson in Malda district and alleged it was the police who indulged in violence.
Earlier in the day, protesters blocked a major road in Sujapur area of Malda district, set tyres on fire, ransacked government buses and torched several vehicles, including a police van. When police tried to control the situation, they hurled stones and crude bombs.
Pointing to a video footage, which has gone viral but could not be verified, Salim said it clearly showed policemen vandalizing vehicles.
'None of the protesters or strike supporters were involved in violence. It is Mamata Banerjee who instigated violence. The TMC cadres and police personnel indulged in arson and violence in Malda district and other parts of the state to please the chief minister. Despite threats, the strike has been successful in Bengal,' Salim told a press conference here.
He referred to the violence in Uttar Pradesh during the anti-CAA protests and said 'The TMC cadres and police got motivation from theYogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and have indulged in arson and violence. Now they are trying to frame peaceful protesters.' The matter should be probed immediately, he added.
Salim's view was echoed by Congess party leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who too blamed Banerjee for inciting violence during the strike.
'Mamata Banerjee and her party are all of a sudden trying to project themselves as saints, as if they have never called a strike. Her opposition to the strike is a farce.
Actually she is hand in gloves with BJP and that is why she opposed the strike,' Chowdhury said.
The TMC government in West Bengal had announced that its employees would be barred from availing casual leave or half day leave on Wednesday.
WBPCC president Somen Mitra demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
The TMC termed the CPI-M leader's claims as baseless and said those who do not have the people's support are now resorting to falsehood.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the video footage cited by Salim if found to be true is condemnable.
'But we are sure the police was not involved and the CPI(M) and Congress are indulging in falsehood to hide their sins. They don't have the people's support and are now resorting to violence. If at all the video is found to be true, then it is condemnable and proper action will be taken,' he said.
Malda police superintendent Alok Rajoria said the district police has received the video clip and investigation is on.
'If at all any police personnel is found to be involved, then necessary action will be taken,' he said.
Incidents of violence and arson were reported from other parts of the state as well with buses, police vehicle and government properties being vandalised by alleged strikers who tried to enforce the 24-hour bandh on Wednesday. PTI PNT KK KK