DA hike demand: Bengal govt staff clash with police

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A SECTION of state government employees on Wednesday clashed with the police during their agitation demanding a hike in the dearness allowance (DA) at par with the Central government.

The employees took out a rally from Esplanade towards West Bengal Legislative Assembly. As Section 144 of CrPC wa imposed in the area, the police stopped the employees. Soon a scuffle broke out between the two groups, resulting in several employees getting injured. The police used force to drag the protesters into police vans. One of the protesters alleged that he was punched twice by a policeman after he continued to protest. As the Assembly now in session, the police stopped the agitators, rounded them up in vans and took them into preventive custody. Some of the employees exchanged fisticuffs with the police personnel. The police said 42 people were detained.

“Why are we being beaten up like this? We came here to demand a hike in the dearness allowance and clearing of our pending dues by the state government. But in return we are receiving blows by policemen,” said one of the protesters.

It may be noted that the West Bengal government pays dearness allowance at 34 per cent, which the employees say is 35 per cent lesser than that paid by the central government. The employees’ associations of the state government had moved the Calcutta High Court in this regard. The state government had moved the Supreme Court against the HC’s decision directing the state government to pay dearness allowance arrears to state government employees within three months, the deadline for which has already expired. The matter will come up for hearing in the apex court later this month.