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Murder pre-planned: Wife

Killed within 45 minutes of threat to family

Burdwan, Feb. 22: Former CPM MLA Pradip Tah’s killing was “pre-planned” and not an act of spontaneous anger, the leader’s wife Chitralekha and the party has alleged.

Chitralekha said her husband, who joined the CPM in 1970, was killed in “cold blood” by Trinamul workers who are familiar faces in the area. Chitralekha, the headmistress of Galsi Girls’ High School, said armed Trinamul workers came to her home at 9am, about 45 minutes before Pradip’s murder, and called for her husband.

“I was preparing to leave for school when about 20 Trinamul workers, all armed with rods, axes and stones, arrived at our home. They were led by (Trinamul activist) Patit Pawan Tah. They threatened to murder my husband and called him names,” she told The Telegraph.

“I told them that my husband was not at home and that I would leave for school shortly. But they abused me and told me that I would soon become a widow. They said this was the price I would have to pay for marrying a man like him,” Chitralekha said.

“It is clear that they (Trinamul workers) killed my husband in cold blood. It was a pre-planned murder,” she added.

Chitralakha alleged that some of the attackers confined her and her daughter Pritha, a second-year student of MBC Polytechnic Institute in Burdwan, to their home.

“They stood on guard in front of our house. My husband had left earlier in the morning and was at Burdwan Medical College Hospital at that time, meeting party workers injured in a clash with Trinamul activists today. He was killed when he joined a procession to protest the attacks.”

Pradip’s family saw the news of his death on television.

“I called him up desperately several times but his cellphone kept ringing. Then I saw through the window that the shopkeepers were hurriedly downing shutters. Soon, a relative called my daughter on her cellphone and asked us to watch the news on TV. We promptly did so and saw the news of my husband’s murder being flashed,” Chitralekha said.

CPM politburo member Nirupam Sen alleged Pradip was “singled out” and murdered.

“Attackers led by local Trinamul activists singled him out from among other leaders and workers at our rally and brutally killed him. Trinamul wants to damage our organisation in the locality,” Sen said. “(CPM leader) Kamal Gayen was killed when he tried to rescue him.”

CPM district secretary Amal Haldar alleged that Trinamul activists had tried to kill Pradip three months ago. “Pradip was addressing a meeting of unorganised workers in front of a factory in the area when armed Trinamul activists tried to kill him. But the workers surrounded him and quickly escorted him to safety. We had lodged a police complaint,” Haldar said.

He said Trinamul was “merely looking for an opportunity to kill Pradip”. “Today, Trinamul got the chance as he had entered the party’s territory.”

The district CPM leadership said Pradip was a popular leader attached to Citu’s unorganised labour cell and had a clean image.

He had won the 2006 Assembly polls from Burdwan North by a margin of over 60,000 votes but did not contest last year’s elections as the seat was reserved for Scheduled Castes.

The CPM retained the constituency, albeit by a reduced margin. CPM leaders said Pradip had played a significant role in the victory as he had a “strong support base” in the area.