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TMC ‘faction feud’ death

Burdwan, May 14: A Burdwan Trinamul worker was dragged out of his home and shot dead last night allegedly by members of a rival faction led by a party leader said to be close to Anubrata Mondal.

Banamali Sheikh, who belonged to a faction led by anchal sabhapati Lutfar Sheikh, was shot in the head in a field 1km from his home in Ausgram by loyalists of Sukumar Saha, a Trinamul leader who had switched from the CPM before the panchayat polls last year and now has the “blessings” of Mondal.

Describing the attack on Banamali as a retaliation, police said the murdered Trinamul worker, his father, brother and a neighbour had attacked a group of Saha loyalists earlier in the evening.

According to Lutfar, around 40-45 armed youths backed by Saha raided Banamali’s house two hours later and dragged him out. “He was taken to a deserted field and shot dead. His body was dumped in a bush. His parents were beaten up too when they protested,” Lutfar said.

The police have arrested Banamali’s father, brother and the neighbour on a complaint lodged by Saha’s loyalists, alleging that the trio beat them up in the evening.

Saha could not be contacted.

Ausgram anchal sabhapati Lutfar said Saha defected from the CPM before the rural polls last year along with a few loyalists. “From the very beginning, Saha tried to make his presence felt by interfering in every party affair.”

Asked how Saha dared to challenge a group led by an anchal sabhapati within a year of joining Trinamul, Lutfar said: “He has the blessings of (Trinamul Birbhum president) Anubrata Mondal.”

The Birbhum Trinamul chief denied Saha was close to him, saying “Subhash Mondal (the party’s Burdwan general secretary) can say better.”

Subhash Mondal said: “It is not true that Anubrata Mondal backs Sukumar. His earlier party is trying to use him to create fissures among us.”

Banamali’s mother Chhabila Bibi lodged an FIR naming Saha and 16 of his loyalists late this evening.

Trinamul has been battling factional feud in Burdwan for the past few years. A section in the party was said to be unhappy with the choice of candidates for the Burdwan East and Burdwan-Durgapur Lok Sabha seats.

Body found

The body of a Congress worker missing since Saturday was found on Wednesday in a field in a Purulia village. Police suspect family rivalry over land.