| Two of the three Trinamul Congress supporters, who were injured, at the hospital. Picture by Anirban Choudhury
Dakshin Bhatibari (Alipurduar), Jan. 10: A Trinamul Congress supporter, Nabyeswari Das (42), died today after she was kicked in the lower abdomen, allegedly by a CPM leader, at the Dakshin Bhatibari SC Cadet Primary School ground, 15 km from Alipurduar town.
Three other Trinamul workers were injured in the clash between the two parties and have been admitted to hospital.
Though four local leaders of the CPM ' Prafulla Das, Madal Das, Ramen Adhikary and Nandeswar Das ' were arrested, the main accused, Adhir Das, is missing.
The Trinamul, which filed an FIR against five CPM workers, has called a 12-hour strike in Bhatibari tomorrow. Tension has gripped the area under Samuktala police station of the Alipurduar subdivision. RAF personnel have reached the spot and a police picket has been set up.
According to witnesses, more than 700 people had assembled at the primary school ground for a meeting of the gram sansad. The time was 11am. Though the area is under Bhatibari gram panchayat and the pradhan is from the CPM, the spot where the incident occurred ' 12/189 booth 'is a Trinamul pocket.
Trouble started when Narayan Das stood with the CPM supporters, while his wife Sabitri joined the other side. This irked the CPM leaders who tried to bring Sabitri, forcefully, to where they were standing. Renuka Bala Das, a relative of Sabitri's, came forward and resisted. In the melee that followed, Adhir Das, a local CPM leader, allegedly assaulted Renuka and then kicked Nabyeswari in the lower abdomen. Nabyeswari collapsed and died on the spot.
At the same time, Tileswari Das, Fulkumari Das and Ratan Roy ' all from the Trinamul Congress ' sustained injuries inflicted, allegedly by CPM supporters. They are undergoing treatment at Bhatibari Rural Hospital.
Though the people assembled there requested the pradhan, Narakanta Das, to lend his car so that Nabyeswari could be taken to hospital, he apparently refused. The Trinamul supporters then gheraoed the pradhan for an hour. He was later rescued by the police. Ajit Das, a local gram panchayat member of the Trinamul, said: 'The incident is unfortunate. Adhir, a CPM leader, first assaulted Renuka and then hit out with his knee at Nabyeswari's lower abdomen, following which she died on the spot. If the pradhan had given his car Nabyeswari probably would not have died. Until the guilty are punished, no meeting of the gram sansad will be held in this area.'
Denying the allegations levelled against his party, Kishore Das, the secretary of Bhatibari local committee of the CPM, said: 'Nobody had hit Nabyeswari. She was ill and suddenly became unconscious. By the time she was taken to hospital, she was already dead. The subdivisional police officer (SDPO) told me that the police have rescued four of our local leaders. But if arrests have been made, we will gherao the local police camp. We want an impartial inquiry. If the police identify Adhir, who is only a party supporter, as the culprit, then we will definitely hand him over.'
Bhashkar Mukherjee, the SDPO of Alipurduar, said of the five named in the FIR, four have been arrested. 'We are patrolling the area. The body has been sent for postmortem to Alipurduar hospital. We are conducting raids for Adhir, who is absconding.'