Watched by Union Minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress workers on Thursday went on a rampage vandalising Murshidabad district magistrate's office when the officer declined to accept their memorandum on the alleged custodial death of a party worker.
The workers smashed flower pots, pulled down a sun shed and hurled brickbats breaking the windscreen of a vehicle as Chowdhury was seen standing on the bonnet of a jeep, apparently trying to pacify the demonstrators, who were on a sit-in to protest the death of the worker after he was allegedly beaten up by police in the lock-up on January 7.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Pradip Bhattacharjee said District Magistrate Rajiv Kumar declined to accept the memorandum and instead asked the ADM to receive it.
Chowdhury, the minister of state for railways, gave a 30-minute ultimatum to the magistrate to receive the memorandum and threatened to organise a bigger agitation if he did not. Kumar finally received the memorandum.
Chowdhury claimed that there was no vandalism at the DM's office.
"I can tell you very categorically that none of our Congress workers entered the premises of the district magistrate. No kind of vandalism took place," he said.
"We protested against it (the DM not receiving the memorandum) and staged a dharna," he said.
Bhattacharjee also said there was no violence during the agitation.
"... There was no ransack of the district magistrate's office. That is totally wrong, that is not correct, nobody entered it... I am not going to justify this, but I can tell you the fact and the fact is that no property was damaged," he said.