The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Leader shot in CPM hub

Behrampore, Feb. 24: A CPM leader was murdered in front of the party’s zonal committee office at Kuli in the Burwan police station area about 50 km from here this morning. One of the attackers died as well while trying to flee the scene bursting bombs.

The Congress panchayat pradhan of the area and nine others were arrested in connection with the murder. The dead assailant is yet to identified.

“Around 9.30 am, Samarul Sheikh, 31, was brutally attacked by a gang with firearms and bombs right in front of the zonal committee office of the CPM,” said Murshidabad superintendent of police Virendra.

He added that the police raided the residence of the panchayat chief of Haribati village later in the day. Gholam Mustafa, the Congress leader, lives about 4 km from the site of the murder.

“The police recovered 30 crude bombs, two improvised firearms and six live cartridges from his house. We have arrested nine men from the village. The pradhan, Gholam Mustafa, was arrested from the panchayat office,” the superintendent said.

This is the third incident in the area in the past four days in which political activists have been killed.

Akbar Ali, 35, a CPM worker, was murdered on the night of February 21 at a village in the Beldanga police station area and Saiful Sheikh, a Congress worker, was killed the very next night in Daulatabad.

“Samarul’s killers were caught red-handed from the Congress panchayat pradhan’s house. It proves the party has lost its mass base and is resorting to the politics of violence and murder, they are trying to trigger violence ahead of the panchayat elections. We have called a 12-hour bandh in Burwan tomorrow,” said Murshidabad CPM secretary Madhu Bag.

The CPM’s Kuli zonal committee secretary, Asghar Ali, said Samarul was an active member of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) as well as the CPM.

“Samarul had gone out shopping for the commune we have at the zonal office. He was barely yards from the office when the miscreants fired at him and burst bombs. As I tried to rush out, they hurled a bomb at me. I shut the door and they could not break in as people in the area gave them a chase,” Ali said.

One of the attackers died when a bomb that he was carrying went off but the others took shelter in the Congress panchayat pradhan’s house, he added.

“Angry villagers surrounded the house till the police came and arrested the culprits,” Ali said.

Murshidabad Congress secretary and MP Adhir Chowdhury said the attackers had forced their way into the panchayat chief’s house as they wanted to get away from the angry mob.

“The culprits forcibly entered the house and that does not make the owner a murderer as well. We want the real culprits to be brought to book but the police have been falsely implicating innocent Congress members in murder cases,” Chowdhury alleged.

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