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Kolkata: Some 15 animal lovers, including Bengali actress Debolina Dutta, have been injured when police forcibly dispersed an agitation at Salt Lake around midnight on Tuesday (22 January).

The actress, who has suffered an injury in her right arm, has claimed that police not only dragged them out from the agitation venue but also carried out a lathi-charge. This happened in front of Swasthya Bhavan, the headquarters of the state health department, at Salt Lake.

Dutta, along with some 50-60 animal lovers from in and around Kolkata were into a sit-in demonstration from Tuesday noon demanding that two nursing students accused of killing 16 puppies at NRS Medical College and Hospital should be rusticated.

With no specific assurance coming in from the health department, they continued with the agitation till late into the night.

Around midnight, a team from Bidhannagar Electronic Complex police station came to the spot and asked the agitators to disperse.

This led to a commotion between the police and the animal lovers. “There were women police in the team and yet, it was male police who assaulted us. They hurled expletives at us like anything,” Dutta said.

According to her and other injured agitators, police also tried to erase video recording and photographs of the assault from their mobile phones.

In all, 15 animal lovers were injured due to the assault with their injuries ranging from bruises to twists in arms and legs. They have availed treatment from hospitals in Salt Lake.

Amit P Javalgi, deputy commissioner (headquarters) of Bidhannagar Police, has, however, downplayed the incident.

“It was them (the animal lovers) who were disturbing peace in the area at midnight. Some of them used unparliamentarily languages at police and when our people went to identify those, the entire group turned their anger at the police,” Javalgi said.

Meanwhile, peeved over the police action, animal lovers in the city are planning a bigger agitation in protest in a day or two.