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Life halts over Cong murder

Bhangore, (South 24-Parganas) Aug. 22: Tension gripped the morning after the murder of a Congress leader with roadblocks and angry protests paralysing the area.

Ajibur Rahaman Mollah, 48, a block Congress leader and a candidate in the last Assembly elections, was murdered at his residence in Hatishala near the Calcutta Leather Complex last night. His son Afirul was seriously injured by alleged CPM attackers.

As local Congress activists put up roadblocks at several points, shops and market complexes downed shutters. Senior leaders Kumud Bhattacharya and Bhagirath Gayen went to Hatishala on hearing the news.

Several police officers, including additional superintendent (rural) S.S. Panda, are in the area to defuse the tension.

Last night, about 25 armed men, their faces wrapped in black cloth, raided Mollah’s residence. The assailants broke into the house and tried to drag him out at gunpoint. As he tried to resist, they attacked him with sharp weapons.

Afirul, who tried to save his father, was also attacked. The goons cut off his right hand fingers. Mollah’s wife was also injured as she tried to save him.

Leaving the heavily bleeding Afirul, the criminals shot Mollah several times, looted the house and fled bursting bombs.

Neighbours rushed the two injured men to hospital. Mollah died there. The condition of his son was said to be critical.

Gayen said Mollah was a CPM target for a long time. “We had asked him to be cautious but he never figured out that the assailants could kill him in his house,” he said. District Congress president Sailen Dasgupta said it was “unbelievable”.

Land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah described the dead leader from the Opposition as “amiable”. “He was very popular in the area and so far as I know, he maintained good relations with the people. I can say our men were not involved in the murder”, he said.

District superintendent of police Deb Kumar Ganguly did not rule out motives outside politics behind the murder.

“We are looking into different aspects. Raids are on to nab the culprits. A police picket has been posted in the area and senior officers are there to monitor the situation,” Ganguly said.

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