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Bloc former minister assaulted

Chinsurah, Dec. 8: Forward Bloc leader Naren De, 76, who was a minister in the Left government, was beaten up with rods and sticks by suspected Trinamul activists in Hooghly this afternoon.

De has suffered haemorrhage in his eyes, doctors said.

De was addressing a Bloc workers’ convention in a party office in Dhaniakhali when Trinamul workers walking in a procession allegedly barged in and beat him up along with other Bloc leaders.

Police said De was injured in a clash between Trinamul and Bloc workers when “lewd comments were passed from the Bloc office at some women in the procession”.

Trinamul denied involvement in the attack.

De, who had held the agriculture and food portfolios in the Left government, said from his bed at Imambara Sadar Hospital in Chinsurah: “Around 4.30pm, a large number of local Trinamul workers entered the office armed with sticks and rods and beat us up. My spectacles fell off and I slumped to the ground.”

As the assailants ransacked the office, De’s colleagues ran away. The attackers smashed the windscreen of De’s car. The driver, who too fled, informed senior Bloc leaders in the district. The leaders called up the police.

“After the attackers left, a man entered the office and carried me to a nearby tea stall. The police arrived after some time and took me to the hospital,” De said.

Doctor B.R. Manna, who examined De, said: “He has suffered haemorrhage in both eyes. He also has bruises and cuts in his left arm and legs.”

Another Bloc leader, Ajit Patra, 65, suffered fractures in both hands.

Forward Bloc state secretariat member and former agriculture marketing minister Hafiz Ali Sairani denied the charge that lewd remarks had been passed at women.

The Trinamul vice-president in Hooghly, Dilip Jadav, said: “Our party is not involved in this incident.”