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Families of slain four blame Trinamul feud
Tussle between old and new faces

The wife of Hasan Gazi, one of the four Trinamul workers hacked to death on Saturday, with her child in Khari village

Raidighi (South 24-Parganas), June 15: The family members of the four Trinamul workers hacked to death in South 24-Parganas last night and local party activists today said the attack was the fallout of infighting, contradicting the leadership that blamed the CPM and the BJP.

Local Trinamul workers in Raidighi said there was a tussle between “old timers” and those who had joined the party recently, especially from the Congress

Four Trinamul workers — Atiyar Molla, Hasan Gazi, Hafizul Gazi and Chapu Molla — were hacked to death on a dark stretch on their way home around 10.30 last night, marking one of the biggest incidents of political violence in the state since Mamata Banerjee came to power.

Hasan and Hafizul were brothers.

Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee, who visited Raidighi today, accused the “CPM harmads” of masterminding the attack and said the BJP was “providing oxygen” to the Left party.

According to sources, eight Trinamul workers, including the four murdered, were returning to Khari village from a party meeting last night when a group of about 60 people armed with swords, choppers, bombs and country-made pistols intercepted them at Sreenagar, the entry to Khari village, and attacked them.

“The gang was waiting at the local bus stand for them to return from the party meeting,” said Gaffur Molla, a Sreenagar resident. “They had blocked the lane with an auto.”

Gaffur said he fled the spot when the attack started.

According to a police officer who visited the murder site today, there was lot of blood splattered on the ground, indicating that the eight Trinamul workers were attacked with sharp weapons. “The other four were lucky to escape given that the gang was armed to the teeth,” the officer said.

Local Trinamul workers alleged that the armed gang owed allegiance to Wajed Ali Khamaru, a Congress deputy gram panchayat pradhan who joined Trinamul before the Lok Sabha elections and was “hankering” for a post in the local unit of the party.

“Atiyar, Hasan and Hafizul were office-bearers at the booth level in Trinamul and Wajed had a running battle with them because he, too, wanted a post in the party,” a local Trinamul worker said.

“So if you look for a motive, then the finger would point to Wajed.”

Wajed and his nephew Chhote Khamaru, who was also in the Congress and recently joined Trinamul, have fled their homes, though their names are not mentioned in the FIR that has been drawn up on a complaint lodged by Ayub Molla, the brother of Atiyar.

The FIR mostly names CPM workers, including former minister Kanti Ganguly.

“The FIR has been filed on the instructions of the party leadership. So Wajed’s and Chhote’s names obviously would not be there,” a local Trinamul leader said. “But then, why have these two men fled the village if they have nothing to do with last night’s attack?”

Three police pickets have been set up near Wajed’s home in Saraswatipara in Khari village and the police have questioned his wife three times since last night. Police sources said Wajed’s name had figured in a murder case in the past.

Echoing the Trinamul leader, Hai Siddique Gazi, the elder brother of both Hasan and Hafizul, asked: “Why has Wajed fled the village? Why are the police questioning his wife so many times? Why have so many pickets been set up around his house?”

Hai Siddique said the police were guarding Wajed’s house suspecting that the villagers could lynch him and his family members. “That is why Wajed is on the run,” Hai Siddique said. “He is aware that the whole village knows he is behind the killings and that we are not going to spare him.”

Relatives of the other Trinamul workers killed yesterday also blamed factional feud in the area.

A police officer in Raidighi said: “We visited Wajed’s home first at 1 this morning, then at 4.30am and 11am.”

Wajed’s wife Basiran Bibi said she did not know where her husband was.

Rubbishing the leadership’s claim that the CPM and the BJP had carried out the attack, local Trinamul workers said “only Trinamul can take on Trinamul”.

“In the Lok Sabha elections, Trinamul won all seats in this district,” a local party leader said. “In this area, only Trinamul can take on Trinamul. No other party exists here. There are so many factions that are always at loggerheads.”

Minister Chatterjee told journalists in Khari this afternoon: “The CPM’s harmads are behind the killings of our four party workers. I have got information that Kanti Ganguly was in Raidighi last evening. It is evident who is behind the attack. The CPM is trying to weaken Mamata Banerjee by killing our supporters. But they will not succeed.”

He added that the BJP was “providing oxygen to the moribund CPM by unleashing terror in Bengal”.

Ganguly denied Chatterjee’s claim, saying he had been visiting the Sunderbans area for the past 20 years.

K. Ravindranath, the additional SP of South 24-Parganas, said: “Four people have been arrested. They were produced in Diamond Harbour court and sent to police custody for 10 days. Further investigations are on.”