Andal, Jan. 10: CPM activists were today accused of opening fire on Trinamul ranks bound for Mamata Banerjee’s rally in Asansol – the charge mirroring the Bhangar flare-up but with roles reversed.
The police confirmed that a group fired shots in Andal and named one CPM leader in the FIR but denied the Trinamul claim that three supporters suffered bullet injuries. The hospital where the injured are being treated also did not confirm such wounds.
The police said about 10-15 youths opened fire at Trinamul workers waiting to board four minibuses in Andal.
“We found a spent cartridge from the spot and saw a bullet hole on the wall of a Trinamul worker’s house in the area,” said Ajay Nand, the commissioner of the Asansol-Durgapur commissionerate.
Asked if any Trinamul supporter was hit by a bullet, Nand said: “As of now, we have not come across anybody who was hit by a bullet. But the youths did open fire.”
Nand added: “We have recovered two muskets, one pipe-gun and 60 rounds of cartridges from (CPM leader) Bijay Singh’s house in the area. The shots were fired from one of the muskets. Singh’s name is in the FIR along with 13 others. He is absconding.”
The Trinamul block president of Pandabeswar, Naren Chakraborty, said: “Three of our party workers were hit by bullets. They have been admitted to an Eastern Coalfields Ltd hospital in Kajora. Seven more were beaten with rods and sticks.”
According to an official of ECL’s Kajora Hospital, all 10 injured were hit by sticks.
Villagers in Andal said that with the panchayat polls nearing, such clashes were bound to happen.
“Trinamul and the CPM have been fighting in Bhangar. The same thing is happening here now,” a daily-wage labourer in Andal said.
In Bhangar, the CPM had accused Trinamul of opening fire on a convoy carrying the Opposition party’s supporters to a protest rally in Calcutta.
Agriculture minister Malay Ghatak, who was present on the dais with Mamata today, said: “The CPM wanted to prevent them from coming to the rally. Some of our workers have been hospitalised with bullet injuries.”
The CPM claimed the incident was the fallout of Trinamul’s factional feud.