The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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26 injured as campaign turns violent

Twenty-six persons, including Trinamul Congress candidate from Barrackpore Arjun Singh and police officials, were injured as violence marked the last leg of campaign for the May 10 election. The injury list was a fallout of a clash between Trinamul Congress and CPM workers at Baghmore in Barrackpore, near Jagaddal, on Saturday morning.

According to police, trouble broke out when Singh and his men were marching towards a meeting site at Baghmore from Bijpur. “As Singh’s group approached the Baghmore crossing with more supporters following on two-wheelers, CPM activists allegedly barged into the procession with hand-pulled carts and rickshaws, splitting the group. They attacked the Trinamul activists who were scattered into smaller groups with sticks and broken bottles,” an officer said.

Soon the clash took a violent turn as Singh’s men fought back. It was around 9.30 am when the fight broke out. “The spot is quite close to the police station and we reached within 15 minutes. We had to resort to lathicharge and it took us a while before we could bring the situation under control. Two police personnel were also injured in the clash,” the officer added.

Another group of Trinamul workers who were on their way to join Singh could not reach the processionists as they met with an accident. “The boys were coming from Titagarh on two-wheelers. A loaded truck, in trying to overtake them, lost control and rammed into three motorcycles injuring four youths. That stopped the group from proceeding,” Singh said.

“It would have been a different story if those boys had reached Baghmore crossing. We would not have had so many casualties on our side. The attack on my men was pre-planned by CPM activists and we should have been more alert,” Singh alleged.

However, Tarit Topdar, the CPM candidate from Barrackpore, denied that his men were involved in the attack. “We have nothing to do with the incident. It was a fight between two factions of the Trinamul Congress and they are trying to make it an issue just before the polls. Let the police investigate and find out the real culprits,” Topdar said.

Out of the 26 persons injured in the melee, a few are reported to be in a critical state. They were admitted to Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Kalyani while four persons who suffered injuries in the accident were taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. “The situation is now under control and no one has been arrested yet,” said additional superintendent of police, Barrackpore, Supratim Sarkar.

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