There is no justification for police obstructing the five-day joint road march held by the CPB and other left parties with environmental activists, to protest the planned Rampal coal plant near the Sundarbans.
It is every citizen’s right to hold and take part in peaceful demonstrations and protests.
The police are entrusted to be impartial and to protect people’s right to peaceful protest. They should not be hindering these basic constitutional rights by blockading marchers.
Of most concern are reports that local police had obstructed marchers in tandem with stick-wielding government supporters, and that several demonstrators, on Saturday, were injured by a police baton charge. It is completely unacceptable that police should have appeared to have been colluding with counter demonstrators to try and obstruct a perfectly peaceful march.
An impartial inquiry should be conducted to resolve conflicting reports on the police baton charge and to prevent any recurrence of this type of hindrance of peaceful demonstrations.
The government must also resolve to act to prevent any acts of intimidation or violent threats by its supporters. Suppression of dissent and political violence have no place in a democratic society.
We hope the state minister for power, energy, and mineral resources will heed his promise to reporters that he will now seek to engage with environmental activists and others opposed to the Rampal power plant site, by taking protesters on visits to the planned plant.
The demonstrators deserve dialogue and engagement with the government on this issue of important environmental and national interest.
There is never any excuse for attacking peaceful demonstrators and impeding the right to protest.