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Trinamul eye-opener on ear

- Arrested suspects our supporters, says party official
Suspects Salam Sheikh (top) and Razzak Sheikh. Pictures
by Chayan Majumdar

Behrampore, Feb. 22: The Trinamul Congress has identified as its “supporters” two persons arrested last night for slashing the ear of a panchayat official in bandh retribution.

Trinamul MP Derek O’Brien had tweeted yesterday: “No TMC workers attacked anybody…. Upset at work not being done, locals roughed him up. Nothing to do with TMC.”

Today, Murshidabad Trinamul Congress president Mohammad Ali said: “The arrested persons in the Debipur gram panchayat incident are Trinamul supporters.”

The two arrested have been identified as Salam Sheikh and Razzak Sheikh. They have been charged with assault, causing grievous injury and obstruction to government personnel in discharging duty, an officer said. They were remanded in jail custody.

Panchayat executive assistant Hazrat Omar, 56, almost lost an ear when a group barged into the office and attacked him, apparently for not turning up for work on the bandh day on Wednesday.

District Trinamul president Ali claimed a “personal” grudge could be behind the assault but he foregrounded the victim’s political affiliation.

“The executive assistant of the panchayat is a known CPM worker of the area. So, we think that some personal grudge had led to the incident. No other panchayat employee was beaten up yesterday,” said the district Trinamul chief, appearing to suggest that political leaning is reason enough to attack a person.

However, Ali would not clarify what he meant by “personal grudge”.

A senior Trinamul leader in Calcutta drew a distinction between a party “supporter” and “worker”. Trinamul supporters were those who vote for the party and attend public meetings. “But Trinamul workers take an active role in writing posters, banners and do other work for the party. Most of these Trinamul workers are also enrolled as party members,” he said.

Omar said from his hospital bed today that during the attack on him yesterday, he had identified six Trinamul supporters.

“The names of Trinamul supporters I could identify yesterday were not included in yesterday’s complaint because I was not in a position to speak properly to the block development officer who had lodged the complaint. I was bleeding heavily while on my way to the hospital and I had fallen unconscious,” he said.

Omar said that last night after he felt a little better, he told his brother the six names. “My younger brother, Azbar Ali, a CPM party member, and one of my colleagues were at the hospital. I told the six names to them. They went to the police station and connected me to the officer-in-charge over the phone and I told him the six names, which were included in the complaint.”

District superintendent of police Humayun Kabir said the two arrested were among the six names added to the complaint last night. “We are looking for four others but they have fled,” the SP said.