Police arrest members of two building material supply syndicates who clashed in New Town on Saturday morning
Police have arrested 22 people for suspected roles in a clash between two groups of building material suppliers in the construction hub of New Town on Saturday morning.
The rivals, apparently owing allegiance to Trinamul, clashed around 8.30am on a road about 300m from DLF building in New Town.
Rapid Action Force (RAF) had to be deployed to bring the situation under control.
“We have arrested 22 people and sent them to court,” said Santosh Nimbalkar, deputy commissioner of police, Bidhannagar.
Police sources said the two groups were supporters of Trinamul MLA Sabyasachi Dutta and Barasat MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar.
Party insiders said the duo have been trying to up their stocks in New Town through the network of supply syndicates.
Dutta was summoned to the Trinamul headquarters at Tiljala on Sunday where party leaders Subrata Bakshi and Firhad Hakim spoke to him.
Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee on Sunday said its leaders and supporters were being watched. “We are keeping a close watch on what happened,” he said.
The arrested men were charged with creating public disturbance, attacking with dangerous weapons and criminal intimidation.
Mrinmoy Gayen, member of a supplier group, said the police picked up several of his associates.
“We had gone to New Town to discuss business matters but some in the group got involved in a jostle. Police picked up many of my friends,” said Gayen, a resident of Ghuni, about 1.5km from the clash site.
Edwin Lepcha, the acting chief judicial magistrate of Barasat court, sent the 22 to judicial custody.
Dutta was in the Kakoli camp but became a rival when she allegedly tried to extend her influence to the New Town area after retaining the Barasat Lok Sabha seat in the general elections this year.
The MLA resisted the move, party sources said.
“There are three groups controlling the supply of building material in New Town,” a Trinamul leader said.
The construction boom in New Town has made these syndicates extremely lucrative, often leading to bitter fights for turf control. Police sources said there have been three clashes among the supplier groups since May.
“If these are not stopped, it will get bigger and bloodier. The area will plunge into chaos and anarchy. We are getting complaints almost every day from developers and residents about recurring fights between rival supply syndicates,” said an officer of New Town police station.