The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Kidnaps’ and bloodspill keep south seething

Oct. 3: Nine CPM activists went missing from Kankandighi in the Raidighi area of South 24-Parganas late tonight.

Local CPM leaders expressed fears that they could be killed before police rescued them.

A police team is looking for the “victims”, said additional superintendent of police (rural) S.S. Panda. “We don’t have any definite information of anyone being killed,” he said.

SUCI’s district committee secretary Bidhan Chattopadhyay denied the missing CPM cadre had anything to do with the murder of the SUCI activists in the neighbourhood on Tuesday. “It was a result of an intra-CPM feud. Our party members were not involved,” he said.

Earlier, violence rocked bandh-hit Kultali in the Sunderbans for a second time in 48 hours after miscreants killed a CPM functionary in a reprisal to the deaths of two SUCI supporters in a clash with CPM activists on Tuesday evening.

Against the backdrop of fierce clashes, bloodshed and spiralling tension, Sunderbans development minister Kanti Ganguly met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and urged him to help defuse the volatile situation in Joynagar and Kultali, known SUCI bailiwicks.

CPM supporter Kalipada Mal was found murdered at his Paitar Hat village early today.

Panda said Mal was missing since last night. Today, his bullet-riddled body scarred with multiple injuries was found near his house.

Irate villagers set fire to several houses of SUCI supporters, including that of Ram Haldar, who they claimed were the mastermind of Mal’s murder.

At the receiving end of the SUCI campaign that holds him responsible for the attacks, Ganguly proposed to Bhattacharjee that the Left partners be asked to join hands with the CPM in “tracing and flushing out” the gangs operating in Joynagar and Kultali.

“We should do it without being concerned at the gangs’ political connections,” Ganguly said.

The SUCI leadership, however, stuck to its guns. “We have no criminals in our party. Peace can be brought back to Joynagar and Kultali if Ganguly is persuaded not to get involved in the area’s affairs,” said state party secretary Provash Ghosh.

CPM state secretary Anil Biswas said the party leadership would soon hold a dialogue with the SUCI on defusing the tension in the district. “We will have to do something about it. But, at the same time, I would request them (the SUCI) not to attack Ganguly because he is going through a personal problem concerning his ailing son.”

After Tuesday’s violence in which two important SUCI leaders were brutally murdered and a host of party workers seriously injured, the SUCI leadership had accused Ganguly of masterminding it.

Superintendent of police Deb Kumar Ganguly has submitted a report to the chief minister through the director-general of police on the Kultali incident.

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