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Murder jolt on first day

- Youth Cong worker killed, Adhir meets family

Chinsurah, Feb. 13: A Youth Congress leader overseeing poll preparations in the Hooghly parliamentary seat was beaten to death today by suspected Trinamul workers, with police and his family giving conflicting versions of the cause.

While Avijit Rahman’s elder brother Biswajit said a group of Trinamul workers dragged him out of his house in Mogra and beat him up, senior police officers said he picked up a fight with local youths over a seat at a barber’s shop.

According to Biswajit, 40, a group of around 50 local Trinamul workers surrounded their house soon after Avijit, 35, returned from the barber’s shop around 12.30pm.

“The Trinamul workers dragged him out and beat him up with sticks and bricks for around 30 minutes in front of my mother and wife. They were also hit when they intervened. The group ran away before the police arrived,” Biswajit said.

Biswajit, a clerk at a Chinsurah court, alleged that the police wasted precious time questioning Avijit in the police station instead of taking him to hospital.

“The police kept interrogating him despite my brother having difficulty in speaking. They gave him some first-aid and then took him to the hospital at 4pm,” Biswajit added.

The law clerk said Avijit was kept for around four hours in the police station.

New state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury, who met Avijit’s family tonight, blamed Trinamul.

Trinamul has denied involvement in the murder.

The police had a different version.

A senior police officer in Mogra said Avijit walked into a barber’s shop for a shave this morning and picked up a fight over a seat.

“Avijit had an altercation with a local youth over who would occupy the seat. The local youth called his associates and dragged Avijit out of the shop. Avijit pulled out a revolver and fired twice in the air. He tried to escape but could not. The local youths beat him up with sticks and bricks. He fell to the ground and fainted,” the officer said.

He added that a team from Mogra police station took Avijit to Imambara Hospital in Chinsurah. He was referred to Calcutta Medical College Hospital, but died on the way.

A post-mortem report is awaited.

District superintendent of police Sunil Chowdhury said: “Avijit Rahman was beaten to death. We have started an investigation.”

Congress spokesperson Abdul Mannan, who hails from Hooghly, met Avijit’s family members at the Chinsurah hospital tonight. Chowdhury, AICC observer for Bengal Shakeel Ahmed Khan and state Youth Congress president Soumik Hossa in also visited the hospital later.

Chowdhury said: “Avijit was an active Youth Congress worker and had been overseeing poll preparations. He was severely beaten up by Trinamul supporters in front of his mother. Officers at the police station made him sit for hours in the name of investigation instead of taking him to the hospital. We will organise an agitation on February 24.”

The state Congress president later visited Avijit’s home.

Asked about Chowdhury’s allegation, Hooghly Trinamul president and local MLA Tapan Dasgupta denied involvement of any party worker. “No one from our party is involved in the murder of the Youth Congress leader. I feel sorry for his death.”

Chowdhury, the junior railway minister, said: “The incident reflects that Trinamul is getting scared of the Congress. A turn around has begun for the Congress.”