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CIMA Gallary

Extortion attack on teacher

Chinsurah, June 21: A primary school headmaster in Hooghly who is a Trinamul loyalist was allegedly beaten up by party activists yesterday when he protested their extortion from traders in the name of Kali puja.

Nilmadhab Dey, 38, a Goghat resident and headmaster of the Hariharpur Primary School, was given a dozen stitches in his head and taken to Calcutta Medical College Hospital from Arambagh subdivisional hospital for a CT scan and better treatment.

In his FIR, Dey named Trinamul activist Bhabesh Rana and other party workers.

Dey alleged he was targeted by Rana and his aides because he had protested their extortion from traders for a puja performed on Tuesday.

“The Trinamul activists had been raising money for the past week. As I am a Trinamul supporter, I had asked the traders not to give in to the party activists’ demand as the leadership did not approve of extortion. The activists got angry and assaulted me,” Dey said this afternoon.

Dey said he was standing at the bus stop around 8.30am yesterday when he was attacked by Rana and his accomplices. “I was waiting for a bus to go to school. Rana tore off the wooden frame of a signboard in front of a shop and hit me with it on the head. Seeing me bleeding profusely, they tried to flee. But local traders caught Rana and beat him up. After that, I lost consciousness.”

A police officer said Rana had suffered a sprain in his right ankle and was admitted to Arambagh subdivisional hospital.

Manoj Dey, a husk trader, said Rana and his associates had been demanding amounts ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000 for the puja. “I was forced to pay Rs 2,000. We are scared because they belong to the ruling party,” he said.

District Trinamul president Tapan Dasgupta said the leadership “would not tolerate extortion from traders”. “CPM activists who switched to our party after the Assembly polls last year are involved in such practices. They are tarnishing Trinamul’s image. I have sought a report from Goghat Trinamul leader Manoranjan Pal on the incident,” he said.

Yesterday, traders in Goghat kept their shops closed to protest the attack.

The officer in charge of Goghat police station, Prasanta Chatterjee, said he had received Dey’s complaint. “We will arrest Rana once he recovers. We are trying to identify the others involved in the attack on the headmaster,” Chatterjee said.