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College bullet hits SFI youth

Malda, Jan. 17: A 19-year-old SFI supporter was today shot at in a clash with Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) members over filing of nomination papers for union polls in a Malda college.

Junab Ali, who suffered a bullet injury in his head, has been admitted to Malda Medical College Hospital. Doctors have conducted a surgery to remove the bullet from the right portion of his skull.

“He is under observation but not out of danger yet,” medical college vice-president M.A. Rashid said.

The violence over college elections has brought under the scanner the state government’s decision to lift the ban on such polls without putting in place proper safeguards. College elections had been suspended after a police sub-inspector was shot dead during polls at Garden Reach College last year.

On Tuesday, a TMCP supporter in North 24-Parganas died after being allegedly beaten up during filing of nominations. In Nadia, a college principal was allegedly thrashed by SFI supporters protesting “faulty voters’ list”. Several incidents of violence have also been reported in many north Bengal colleges.

During the clash at Samsi College in Malda today, at least 20 people were injured, the police said. They added that Ali was not a student of the college.

The SFI had won the last elections at Samsi College.

“TMCP supporters attacked us with bombs, guns and stones. Our member Junab Ali was hit by a bullet on the head. At least 14 of our supporters were injured,” SFI leader Samirul Haq said.

The TMCP denied the allegations, saying its members were attacked by SFI supporters with sticks and rods.

“Our supporters were attacked and chased out of the college by SFI members. Five of our supporters were injured,” said Prasenjit Das, the district president of the TMCP.

The college’s teacher-in-charge, Pralaykanti Ghosh, said the clash took place outside the campus. “There was no trouble inside the college. We will complete the submission and withdrawal of nominations by tomorrow and the elections will be held on January 27 as scheduled,” he said.

Malda police chief Kalyan Mukherjee said: “The police took adequate action to stop the clash. We are yet to find out how many rounds were fired.”