Controversy over the alleged suicide of senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader W R Varadrajan refused to die down as the offices of a television channel and the Left party were attacked on Friday allegedly by rival party workers over telecast of a report on the death of the Marxist leader.
The office of Makkal TV, promoted by Pattali Makkal Katchi founder Dr S Ramadoss, was ransacked allegedly by CPI-M workers protesting its report for giving a murder angle to Varadarajan's death, whose decomposed body was recovered from a lake after he went missing.
The police said about 100 CPI-M workers who had gathered outside the news channel's office, ransacked the office and damaged some property and equipment, a day after it telecast the controversial report.
Makkal TV employees alleged some of their colleagues were injured in the incident, which Ramadoss described as proof of "violent culture practised by the Marxists."
In immediate retaliation, a group of PMK workers allegedly ransacked the CPI-M headquarters here, damaging vehicles parked outside and office furniture and property, police said.
Speaking to newsmen, CPI-M state secretary G Ramakrishnan denied involvement of party cadre in the attack on the TV office and said somebody wanted to keep the issue (Varadarajan's death) "alive".
"We did not indulge in any violence. In fact, our party functionaries who had gone there to stage a protest and meet Makkal TV management were attacked," Ramakrishnan claimed.
"We are yet to come out of the shock of Varadarajan's death. Such reports (which had alleged a murder angle to the death) will only create confusion. Some people want to keep the issue alive. This is unfortunate," he alleged.
Ramadoss said "many employees" including women were injured in the attack on the channel office in which some property and equipment were also damaged.
"This is against press freedom... They have demonstrated the violent culture they practise in West Bengal," he said in a statement here.
Ramakrishnan described the Makkal TV report as "false" and said his party was considering legal action. He said even the post-mortem report of Varadarajan was yet to be received.
More than 70 CPI-M workers and some PMK men were taken into custody, the police said.
Varadarajan, who was stripped of his central committee membership on charge of moral turpitude after a woman accused him of sexual harassment, was reportedly upset by the party action.CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat had defended the party action and denied that he was "hounded to death".