The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll over, hunt begins for truce

May 15: Three persons were killed in a string of clashes in Murshidabad and Burdwan today, taking the toll in Murshidabad since Sunday’s election to 20.

A Congress and a CPM supporter were killed in two separate incidents in Murshidabad’s Raghunathgunj and Suti. In the wake of the fresh flare-up, both the parties said joint meetings could be convened in the trouble-prone areas. “I have sent fax messages to (deputy Prime Minister) .K. Advani and Buddahdeb Bhattacharjee, asking them to help bring about normality in the district,” said Murshidabad Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.

District CPM secretary Madhu Bagh said his party was in favour of village-level talks to put an end to the violence. “We are also willing to distribute printed appeals signed jointly by our leaders and those of the Congress,” Bagh said.

“Last night, a group of Congress supporters in a victory procession at Ijakhali village in Raghunathgunj hurled bombs at a house belonging to CPM supporters. Four men were injured in the blasts and Naimul Haque, 30, died,” said superintendent of police Virendra.

At Islampur village in the Suti police station area, miscreants burst bombs and Congress supporter Saidul Islam, 20, died. Virendra said no arrests have been made yet. “We have deployed a company of the Central Reserve Police Force and are keeping a watch on areas like Domkal, Islampur Raninagar and Ranitola,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Bagh alleged that goons led by Chowdhury were targeting CPM cadre. “The Congress is launching attacks on our partymen throughout the district,” Bagh said.

Chowdhury, however, blamed the CPM for sparking off trouble after the election reverses it faced. “We have not taken out victory marches fearing violence and despite that the CPM is attacking our men. There is no place for injured supporters in the hospitals,” Chowdhury claimed.

In Burdwan’s Purbasthali, the relative of a BJP candidate in Samudragarh was killed. The CPM had faced poll reverses in this area as well. Satyaranjan Modak, 35, a CPM-turned-BJP supporter, was attacked with swords last night. He died at the Burdwan Medical College Hospital this morning.

“We have received names of some CPM supporters believed to be behind Modak’s murder and we are looking for them,” said Burdwan superintendent of police B.. Ramesh.

Modak is the brother-in-law of Taraknath Modak, who won the Kalitala gram panchayat. The district BJP said Satyaranjan was pivotal in trouncing the CPM.

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