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Gherao after pradhan ‘attack’

Islampur, Jan. 22: Trinamul supporters gheraoed Chopra police station for around four hours today after a panchayat pradhan of the party was allegedly assaulted by Congress workers.

The agitation started at 1pm and ended around 5pm after Islampur subdivisional police officer Subimal Pal assured the protesters that the attackers would be caught.

Chopra block Trinamul joint president Taher Hossain said the incident was the fallout of the Congress’s recent setback at Haptiagaj panchayat after the pradhan and six others switched to Trinamul.

“Out of the 13 members in the panchayat, the Congress had 11 and the two others were from the BJP and the CPM. Yesterday, pradhan Niren Singha and five others from the Congress and a BJP member joined our party,” Hossain said.

He added that in the evening, Congress supporters pelted Singha’s house with stones.

“Niren was not there then. They broke the gate of the house and used filthy language against him. Today, Niren and some of his associates went to Chopra police station to lodge a complaint but a group of Congress-backed people attacked him and beat him up in front of the police station. Later, we gheraoed the police station demanding the arrest of the attackers,” Hossain said.

The Congress has denied the allegations. “These are false allegations against us. Some of our supporters had gone to the pradhan’s house last evening to ask him why he and the others had joined Trinamul. But they were attacked instead,” said Ashok Roy, the Chopra block Congress president.

He added that Chopra was a Congress stronghold and in the 2011 Assembly elections Hamidul Rehman, a Congress-supported Independent, won the seat. “Later, Hamidul joined Trinamul and since then, he has been going all out to gain control of the panchayats.”

Chopra block Trinamul general secretary Sujit Kumar Saha said Niren was close to Hamidul.