AIMIM’s Bengal chief, other leaders arrested

AIMIM's Bengal chief, other leaders arrested

Kolkata, Dec 17: AIMIM’s top leader in West Bengal Zameerul Hasan has been arrested in connection with a illegal road blockade in south Kolkata last week, police said on Tuesday.

Hasan was taken into custody on Monday from his residence here for taking part in Friday’s illegal blockade in the Park Circus area.

Cases under Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 283 (public obstruction), 341 (wrongful restraint), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code have been slapped against him.

AIMIM sources said their state leader Anwar Pasha was also arrested from Haldia in East Midnapore district, while some other active members were picked up from Birbhum and other districts.

The arrests came after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed some “stooges of the BJP” of taking money from the saffron outfit to foment trouble in the state during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

AAIMIM sources called the arrests an act of political vengeance and said the measure was also aimed at thwarting a rally planned here on Wednesday by the party jointly with the Popular Front of India, the Social Democratic Party of India and some other minorities’ organisations.

Talking to IANS earlier this month, Hasan had accused police of arresting and threatening his party workers at Banerjee’s directive.

The AIMIM had been planning a big launch in the state by holding a rally in Kolkata’s Brigade parade ground where its chief Asaduddin Owaisi was scheduled to be present.

Since last month, Banerjee had been railing against the AIMIM and urging Muslims not to trust a party which was in cohort with the BJP.

Analysts feel AIMIM’s entry could queer the pitch for Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress by cutting into its Muslim vote bank at a time when Bengal’s ruling party is hoping to get the minority community – constituting 27.01 per cent of the state’s population as per the 2011 census – to vote en bloc for it by campaigning big against the BJP’s plans to undertake the National Register for Citizens (NRC) exercise in the state.