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Political bikers harass cancer patient

- Cops stood & watched: Lady

Durgapur, June 3: Some 30 alleged Trinamul Congress activists kept circling a CPM election camp in Durgapur on their motorbikes this morning, revving up repeatedly as a scare tactic and hurling abuses, the 15-minute ordeal leaving an ailing lady volunteer panicky and sick.

Cancer and hypertension patient Chirantani Bhattacharya, 50, sweated heavily and felt dizzy and breathless, which a doctor later put down to a panic attack while another said she could have had a heart attack.

“Three constables stood just metres away,” Chirantani said, adding she was too afraid to lodge a police complaint. “Who will protect us? I’m scared the goons may come to my house and attack me again.”

Trinamul denied the alleged incident on Tansen Road but the CPM claimed that bike-riding toughs from the rival party prowled the town’s streets through the day, spreading terror.

Chirantani, an Alloy Steel Plant employee who had returned from Mumbai six days ago after a medical check-up, described herself as a CPM supporter but said she was not a party member or an activist.

She and another lady CPM supporter and two male party workers were at the open-air camp, set up with a few chairs and a makeshift table under a tree, guiding voters to their booths .

Women CPI supporters try to chase away alleged Trinamul workers in Haldia on Sunday. Picture by Jahangir Badsa

“It was around 11am. I was chatting with a few neighbours after casting my vote. About 30 youths arrived on motorcycles, some of them fitted with Trinamul flags,” she alleged.

“They circled us for sometime, stopping intermittently to rev up their motorcycles to create a racket. Black smoke came out of the exhausts and I began to feel suffocated, sick and panicky. I told them I was a cancer patient but they threw back abuses.”

Before leaving, the gang overturned the table and chairs and warned the four occupants of the camp to leave at once. Chirantani’s husband Ranjit, a retired Durgapur Steel Plant employee, took her back to their quarters where the couple live with their daughter Sayantani, who wrote her BA finals in March.

“My wife was sweating and complaining of dizziness. Our family physician told us she had panicked and had difficulty breathing,” Ranjit, a diabetic who has had an angioplasty, said.“The weather was sweltering; she could have collapsed .”

Dr Partha Pal, a physician at the Mission Hospital in the steel town, said panic could cause a heart attack in someone with hypertension.

Assistant commissioner of police Kazi Samsuddin Ahmed said the matter had not been reported to the police. “If we receive a complaint, we will look into it.”

Trinamul Burdwan (industrial) unit chief Apurba Mukherjee said: “No attack by motorbike-borne party workers happened in Tansen Road. Has the lady identified anyone from our party?”