| Sutradhar at the Durgapur hospital. (Gour Sharma)
Durgapur, May 2: Trinamul Congress activists allegedly beat up a furniture shop owner in Durgapur and threatened to burn him alive because he attended a flag-hoisting programme organised by the CPM on May Day and stayed away from a similar event held by the ruling party in the same locality.
Mantu Sutradhar, 45, who was admitted to Durgapur sub-divisional hospital with a fractured left hand and chest pain, today lodged a police complaint against local Trinamul leader Himadri Banerjee and seven party activists.
“The accused are roaming around freely. They did not allow my employees to open the shop today. I don’t know whether I will be able to run the business anymore. The Trinamul workers asked me to either switch to their party or shut shop,” Sutradhar said.
After the change of guard in Bengal, all shopkeepers in the area except Sutradhar joined Trinamul.
CPM local committee secretary Pankaj Roy Sarkar said Sutradhar had refused to switch to Trinamul “despite pressure” from the ruling party. “He was beaten up with logs kept in his shop,” Roy Sarkar said.
Sutradhar had just opened his shop at 9.30am yesterday when the Trinamul workers led by Banerjee allegedly attacked him. “They asked me to give in writing that I would never attend a CPM event.”
“When I refused, they beat me up. One of them threatened to burn me alive. I pleaded with folded hands to leave me.” After they left, Sutradhar took a rickshaw and went to the local CPM office.
Roy Sarkar, who was present in the office, took Sutradhar to hospital. “When we went to the local police station today, the cops initially refused to accept the complaint. The FIR was taken after we demonstrated,” Roy Sarkar said.
Trinamul denied the allegations. “Himadri did not beat up anybody. All traders in the locality had joined our party. Sutradhar was provoking them against us. Our workers went to request him to stop this. There may have been an altercation but Sutradhar was not assaulted,” said Trinamul leader Bhim Mandal.
Burdwan CPM secretary Amal Haldar alleged Trinamul was “creating terror” in Durgapur in the run-up to the civic polls on June 3.
Officer in charge of New Township police station Asim Majumdar said the police had started a probe.