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Death in Left pocket, arrests on both sides

Midnapore, May 14: A CPM zonal committee member who was beaten up this morning was hacked to death hours later in West Midnapore’s Goaltore by alleged Trinamul Congress activists as violence flared in the troubled zone.

Police said several incidents of clashes had been reported from elsewhere in the district, raising fears of a spurt in tit-for-tat attacks barely a day after the Assembly poll results.

Over two dozen people, including 20 CPM and five Trinamul supporters, had been arrested till this evening, police sources said, adding that 30 improvised guns and revolvers had been seized from them.

West Midnapore police chief Manoj Verma said Jiten Nandi, 55, from neighbouring Garbeta, was attacked twice. “He was beaten up at his home in Moita village by five persons. Villagers took him to the Goaltore block primary health centre, where he was treated and discharged,” the SP said.

“Around noon, miscreants attacked him in his house again, this time with sharp weapons. He was killed on the spot. An FIR was lodged by local CPM leaders in which two Trinamul activists were named.”

CPM district secretariat member Dahareswar Sen said “Trinamul activists carried out the attack” on Nandi.

Since last night, incidents of violence were reported from Dantan, Garbeta, Chandrakona and Keshpur , all of them places retained by the Left. While the CPI won from Dantan, the CPM won in Garbeta, Chandrakona and Keshpur.

Police sources said Trinamul workers ransacked three CPM offices and nearly 20 houses belonging to CPM supporters in villages in Dantan, Garbeta, Goaltore and Chandrakona.

“Eight CPM activists were injured in these incidents,” a police officer said.

Trinamul district chairperson Mrigen Maity said “no Trinamul worker was involved” in these incidents of violence. “We have asked our party workers and supporters to restrain themselves and maintain peace in the area. I again appeal to Trinamul workers to ensure peace."

In Keshpur, a Trinamul supporter received a pellet injury in his leg when he was shot at by suspected CPM activists.

“The 20 CPM men we arrested had arms with them and they were handed over to us by Trinamul supporters,” a police officer said. “We are investigating the matter.” Sources said the weapons seized included single-barrelled guns and country-made pistols.

CPM leader Sen said Trinamul supporters “planted arms” on our supporters and then handed them over to the police. “Several party offices have been ransacked and our supporters are being attacked. We are scared that the dark days of the early 1970s will return as CPM men are being targeted systematically,” he said.

The SP said joint forces had been sent to eight villages from where incidents of violence had been reported.

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