The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul team cool to Keshpur ‘hero’

West Midnapore, Sept. 23: A day after a string of clashes rocked the Keshpur villages claiming two lives, local Trinamul Congress leader Mohammed Rafique found himself in a corner. A party delegation from Calcutta shunned him during its meeting with district superintendent of police K.C. Meena.

Minutes after reaching here, Trinamul functionaries led by chief whip in the Assembly Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay went to Meena’s office without taking Rafique along.

They complained to Meena about “indiscriminate” attacks on party activists by armed CPM cadre.

Shunned by his leaders, Rafique felt it was a deliberate ploy to disapprove the offensive he had launched yesterday along with associates to regain control of Keshpur.

Trinamul sources said the delegation pulled up Rafique at a meeting for yesterday’s violence and said it will submit a report to party chief Mamata Banerjee.

“We are yet to ascertain what exactly led to yesterday’s offensive. However, if partymen are found to have engineered the violence, we shall not spare them,” said a key Trinamul leader based in Keshpur. Several villagers here today held Trinamul responsible for the spate in violence in the region.

That Rafique was reprimanded by party leaders was evident from the low profile he kept through the day. He refused to comment on yesterday’s incident when newsmen approached him.

According to officials, preliminary investigations have revealed that Rafique and his men had engineered yesterday’s attack on CPM workers. “We will be able to identify the real culprits in a day or two by interrogating all the 33 people arrested in connection with the incident. We may have to take five of them into custody for further investigations, ” said Meena.

He claimed to be having information about People’s War Group activists joining forces with Trianmul to launch the attack. “We are not ruling out the possible involvement of the PWG,” he said.

The shrinking Trinamul in the region today appeared faction-ridden with leaders of East Midnapore challenging those in the west.

Sisir Adhikari and Nirbed Roy publicly declared that they did not approve of the manner in which some party functionaries were busy working out a strategy to wrest control in Keshpur and pockets of West Midnapore.

“We hardly interact with those in the west to work out party programmes,” said Adhikari.

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