The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rivals in murder & arson

Joynagar (South 24-Parganas) May 8: CPM and SUCI supporters were murdered and a string of revenge clashes followed here today.

Joynagar and Kultali were charged with tension since the killings and exploded when supporters of both parties torched houses seeking revenge.

A 24-year-old SUCI supporter, Sahabuddin Khan, was killed at Kachiamari in Merrugunj while returning home this evening from a public meeting.

SUCI leader Bidhan Chatterjee claimed that several party workers were injured as CPM supporters fired upon them indiscriminately. The CPM accused the SUCI for the rain of shots and claimed that one of its supporters, who was riddled with bullets, died in hospital.

In the morning, CPM worker Abhoy Mondal, 50, was allegedly killed by SUCI supporters at Bele Durganagar. Mondal was related to Samir Mondal, a CPM candidate contesting for a gram panchayat seat in Bele Durganagar.

No one was arrested in connection with Mondal’s murder till late evening.

Sunderbans development minister Kanti Ganguly and district secretary of the CPM Santimoy Bhattacharya went to the spot. A strong police picket has been posted in the area. Senior officers, including additional superintendent of police, rural, S.S. Panda, are camping there.

The police said some youths barged into Mondal’s home around 2.30 am, fired at him and disappeared in the dark of the night.

As the news spread, CPM workers assembled outside the house and launched an attack on the homes of SUCI supporters.

Chatterjee claimed Mondal belonged to the SUCI. “He was murdered by CPM workers.”

“Recently, the CPM extorted about Rs 25,000 from him and demanded Rs 20,000 more. As he failed to pay, the party workers killed him,” Chatterjee said.

CPM zonal committee member Jogeswar Ghosh denied Chatterjee’s charge. “He (Mondal) had joined the CPM recently and it was counted as a great loss to the SUCI,” he said.

“Mondal was an influencing factor in the panchayat election. The SUCI was trying to eliminate him since he joined us,” added Ghosh. The FIR lodged by CPM leaders alleged that Mondal was killed by members of the rival party.

The police could not confirm reports of the twin deaths in the revenge clashes this evening.

“We are continuing raids on different areas to ascertain whether another CPM worker was killed in the clash this evening. We will arrest those who were involved in the clash without considering their party colours,” Panda said.

State CPM secretary Anil Biswas said 16 CPM supporters have been killed since the rural election was announced. “You are always pointing fingers at us, do you realise that our men are being made targets as well,” Biswas said, even as he urged cadre to maintain peace.

Home secretary Amit Kiran Deb said at Writers’ Buildings nine persons have been killed in poll-related violence so far. “The dead include five CPM men, including three in the Chopra police firing, and four Congress supporters.”

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