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Coal firm SOS on Trinamul leader

Asansol, July 22: Eastern Coalfields, a Coal India subsidiary, has threatened to suspend work at a mine in Raniganj near Asansol from Saturday if police do not take action against a Trinamul leader who allegedly beat up a manager and threatened another over the past few days.

The cry of helplessness comes a week after Shyam SEL Power in neighbouring Jamuria complained of extortion threats by two Trinamul leaders.

“Our officers are scared and humiliated. A manager (B.K. Singh) has been assaulted on July 18 by union leader Chunulal Mishra and threatened today by text message. Another manager has been threatened over the phone. They are not willing to continue work at the mine,” said Sanjay Singh, ECL general manager for the Satgram mining area.

He added that the company had today issued a notice “asking 1,200 miners to join work in the neighbouring collieries of their choice as we will shut down the mine within four days if the police do not take action against the union leader. We have lodged three complaints with the police,” Singh said.

The notice at the colliery did not mention a specific date of closure but said: “The executives apprehend further attack from Chunulal Mishra and his followers.” Mishra is the general secretary of the INTTUC union at the J.K. Nagar Colliery in Raniganj.

Officials said that on Friday, 10 miners were not allowed in as they had turned up after the 30-minute grace period had expired.

When a clerk refused to register the attendance as ordered by Mishra, an altercation ensued and B.K. Singh arrived. “The union leader pushed me around and tried to enter the mine forcibly. I tried to resist but he pounced on me and kicked me in the abdomen and chest when I fell,” said B.K. Singh, who was released from the ECL hospital in Asansol yesterday.

Mishra denied the charges. “The manager allowed in five workers who also came late but prevented my union members. I protested but I did not beat him up. He misbehaved with me and slapped me. I have also lodged a police complaint against B.K. Singh.”

The police said they had started a case against Mishra. “Mishra obtained anticipatory bail yesterday before we could arrest him,” said Bamapada Das, the circle inspector of police, Raniganj.

General manager Sanjay Singh said Mishra had yesterday “threatened our senior manager Ashim Mandal over the phone with dire consequences if he did not give postings to his union members”.