The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blasts and blood before Big Day

Calcutta, May 9: A string of explosions and a spurt of violence claimed at least six lives a day before the parliamentary polls.

Three children, all rag-pickers, were among the injured.

Within 24 hours of city police commissioner Sujoy Chakraborty’s assurance that the force had taken enough measures to prevent violence and the polls would be held in peace, a couple of explosions rocked the city.

Sensing trouble on D-Day, a senior officer at Lalbazar said: “The blasts have proved us wrong and I feel that the arrangements were not adequate.”

Sanjay Naidu alias Chor Gabbar and Johnny Burman, who were said to be “dreaded criminals”, died on the spot and three others were injured when a bomb exploded at Sayyed Ahmed Road in Entally.

Deputy commissioner of police H.P. Singh said: “Five miscreants were making bombs at a hideout in the slum area when one of them burst around 3.30 pm. The injured have been taken to National Medical College and Hospital and are said to be in critical condition.”

Gabbar, who was charged with an attempt to murder last month, was out on bail. “His associates were arrested several times in the recent past and could be preparing the explosives for a political organisation,” said an officer of the local police station.

Early this morning, Salma Khatun, 12, Saddam Sheikh, 9, and Sabina Khatun, 7, were scouring a dump for scraps in a narrow lane at Barowaritala in Beleghata when a blast shook the neighbourhood. “They were rummaging through the rubbish when the bombs exploded,” said a police officer.

A portion of Salma’s right arm was blown off. “The children are undergoing treatment at NRS Medical College and Hospital. All of them are said to be in very serious state,” Singh said.

Last evening, two persons, Kelo Sardar, 35, and an associate who could not be identified, were lynched when residents of Durganagar in Canning caught them trying to kidnap an influential local leader at gunpoint.

South 24-Parganas superintendent of police Debkumar Ganguly said: “They were trying to force the leader into an autoricksaw when local people got hold of the duo. Two others fled.”

CPM and Trinamul Congress workers clashed at Uttarpara in Nadia’s Shantipur following the murder of CPM worker Mohit Ghosh.

“Mohit Ghosh, 45, who was allegedly stabbed by Trinamul activists, succumbed to injuries today. As the news spread, CPM cadre set ablaze two houses belonging to two Trinamul leaders,” said deputy-inspector general D.P. Tarenia.

Three CPM supporters were arrested tonight when they brought out a procession to mourn Ghosh’s death.

At Thanerpara in the same district, one Abudul Bari died while allegedly making bombs. His associate Potol Mandal was hospitalised.

In Purulia, motorcycle-borne miscreants burst bombs in Jhalda town around 10 pm, injuring seven. The police said there was a clash over putting up festoons. More security personnel have been rushed to the area.

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