The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Boot for party boss after murder probe

Malda, Oct. 2: The CPM here is caught in a controversy over the manner in which an influential district committee member has been stripped of all responsibilities for his alleged involvement in the murder of a DYFI leader in Harishchandrapur.

On February 26, Harishchandrapur secretary of DYFI Sheikh Tofazal, 40, was murdered. He was also the CPM’s zonal committee member and his death triggered unrest in the party across Malda. A section of the party alleged that the murder was committed at the behest of some local leaders.

Eleven persons, including three CPM supporters, were arrested for Tofazal’s murder. One of them was found at the house of CPM district committee member Samsul Haq.

The action against Haq was initiated last month, when the district committee met and a three-member “commission” was formed to find out to what extent he was linked with Tofazal’s murder and whether others in the CPM were involved as well.

The decision to strip Haq of all responsibilities and expel him from the district committee was taken in the presence of Left Front chairman Biman Bose and state secretariat member Shyamal Chakraborty.

Haq, a former zilla parishad deputy chairman, has not only been removed from the district committee but has also been asked not to remain in any of the party organisations.

Malda district CPM secretary Jiban Maitra said: “I cannot comment on what is going on inside the party right now. We will call a news conference when the appropriate time comes.” Maitra neither confirmed nor denied whether Haq had been expelled from the district committee.

Superintendent of police Pankaj Dutta was not very forthcoming with details on the murder. “We have arrested 11 men and an investigation is on,” he said.

Haq, however, said he was confused by the developments. “I know nothing, I am just hearing certain things that seem to be rumours. If the party wants me out, it will have to send the order in a particular format. I have not received anything yet,” he said.

Haq said some local CPM leaders were trying to drag his name into the murder case. “I have told the party leaders in the district that I am being framed. If the party still wants to expel me, I will give a fitting reply.”

The leader under cloud said he had joined the CPM in 1970 and rose from the ranks to become the co-chairman of the zilla parishad by 1978. “I have been in politics for the past 33 years. Young men like Tofazal were groomed by me. Now people are claiming that I have a hand in his murder,” Haq said.

His claim that he was being framed was aimed at a senior functionary of the Harishchandrapur zonal committee. “Ever since the party convention, he has been trying to put me in an awkward position,” Haq alleged.

Party insiders said Tofazal had become a popular leader in the area in recent times.

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