May 12: CPM workers today shot and wounded five RSP supporters in South Dinajpur’s Tapan while the Forward Bloc called and then withdrew a strike to protest attacks on its workers in neighbouring Cooch Behar.
South Dinajpur superintendent of police Gyanwant Singh said shots were fired following a row over the damage wrought to a farmer’s crops at Rajeswarpur village this morning. Three persons, two CPM supporters and one from the RSP, were arrested.
The injured, admitted to Balurghat Hospital with bullet wounds, had a different tale to tell. Abdul Aziz said trouble erupted when they tried to prevent the local CPM panchayat candidate and his aides from assaulting a woman, Parvin Bibi, at Rajeswarpur Bazar. “Jainal Sarkar, the CPM candidate, and his men were abusing her for not voting for the party. They turned on us when we tried to stop them,” said Aziz, an RSP supporter.
High drama was enacted in Cooch Behar’s Dinhata. Agriculture minister Kamal Guha, a senior Bloc leader, held a news conference this morning and announced a 12-hour strike tomorrow to protest the CPM’s attacks on his party supporters.
He said Bloc supporters fled homes as CPM goons unleashed “a reign of terror” in Dinhata the moment policemen posted for the election were withdrawn.
The CPM castigated Guha for a “hasty” decision and the district magistrate and police chief met him. In the evening, Guha called off the strike, saying they had promised action.