| A heart patient and his family, including a minor son and young daughter, were dragged out of their one-storey house in Metiabruz and their belongings tossed on the street on Saturday. The reason: CPM youth wing activists want part of the house for their party office. Picture by Amit Datta
The party in power for 26 years moved into a middle-class family’s home of 24 years at Rabindranagar, near Metiabruz, on Saturday, dislodging them from a part of their three-room residence, assaulting the 19-year-old daughter and tossing their belongings on the street.
On Sunday, the six-member family shifted into the one-and-half rooms that the party had left for them —the other half of the house being walled and separated and adorned by the red flag and red graffiti. The local police station is only a few feet away. The culprits are all members of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the CPM’s youth wing.
For the Mandals of Rabindranagar, the horror started around 8 pm on Saturday. The family, headed by 70-year-old cardiac patient Madhab, was preparing for an early dinner when a few DYFI members, led by Samir Das, knocked on the door. Without a preamble, the group asked Nirmala (Madhab’s wife) to vacate one of the rooms. “There are elections round the corner (probably referring to the Lok Sabha polls) and we need the room,” Das told Nirmala.
As she asked what the elections had to do with her home, Das’ comrades swung into action. They threw out some furniture and utensils, before targeting Madhusudan (Madhab and Nirmala’s son), Shukla (Madhusudan’s wife) and their son, Suresh. As Mamata, Madhusudan’s sister, tried to protect her nephew, she found herself surrounded by the hoodlums. “They assaulted my daughter in front of my eyes,” Nirmala sobbed on Sunday.
An FIR was lodged on Saturday. But, 24 hours later, the police station was yet to act. “We have received a written complaint from the family and are looking into the allegations,” thana official Rajat Sarkar said. The comrades lost no time in walling up the three-room house, keeping one and a half rooms for themselves.
On Sunday evening, Das, the leader of the pack, explained that the party had taken back what had been its own. “One of the rooms served as our party office 15 years ago,” he said.
Nirmala admitted he was right, but only partly. “We let them use one of our rooms for a month during an election 15 years ago,” she said.
The RSP, a CPM ally, has pitched in for the Mandals. RSP local committee secretary Montu Mallick alleged that Das and his associates were involved in real-estate crime in the area.