ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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RAILWAY STRIKE-DIR Tamed

September 1, 1973 area chose a convenient plot of land, .set up a small shack collecting tins and sacks from wherever they could hung up a board bearing the name of the 'club' and ruled the area . . . Most of them had no social or cultural activities; their main task was forcible collection of subscriptions from local people, most of which was spent on consumption of alcohol and Ganja.'' During raids the police "found empty and half-empty bottles of country and foreign liquor in the shacks . . . The owner of a liquor shop said that Ins daily sales had gone down by 'about Rs 100 since the arrest of a prominent rowdy who was the kingpin of one of the leading clubs.'' The same report continued: "Most of the leading clubs owe allegiance to the same political party. Their leaders worked together before the elections. Later, group rivalry came to the fore as different clubs started receiving patronage from different political 'Dadas'. Because of political intci- ference, the ring-leaders could not be arrested earlier; once the government gave the clearance to the police, .several arrests were made and the situation improved quickly,'' The bandh on August 18, which very nearly paralysed life in Maida town in north West Bengal at a time when the state government had assembled there for a cabinet meeting, was significant for more than one reason. Sponsored by CPJ, CPI (M), Congress- (O) and Jan Sangh, the bandh took place despite the desperate efforts made by the government and the ruling party to prevent and frustrate it. Large contingents of police, including many from the neighbouring districts, led by the top-most police officers, aided by Congress youth who had also been strengthened by imports from outside

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