Terror boot on other foot - Trinamul supporters ransack CPM homes in Khejuri

Read more below

By ANGSHUMAN PHADIKAR in Khejuri
  • Published 11.06.09
  •  

Khejuri, June 11: Yesterday’s bullied have turned today’s bullies.

The Trinamul Congress, which overran CPM stronghold Khejuri two days ago, today continued its run of ransacking party offices and homes of leaders, apparently in search of hidden weapons.

Around 11 this morning, around 200 Trinamul supporters went to the Kamarda CPM office, which had been attacked once on Tuesday, and destroyed whatever remained of it.

Then they proceeded to the home of zilla parishad mem- ber Himangshu Das. On the pretext of “searching for arms and ammunition”, they went about systematically ransacking his house and breaking furniture. Task accomplished, they turned to the house of his neighbour Makhan Panda, a CPM local committee member at Kalagachhi.

In neither house did they find any arms or ammunition.

Around 3pm, another group raided the CPM local committee office at Janka, some 10km away. They broke the furniture, made a bonfire of them and set it ablaze.

“If they were accusing the CPM of being brutal and terrorising people, is Trinamul behaving any better?” asked Santosh Kumar Barui, a primary school teacher and CPM local committee member who fled home in fear today.

Trinamul MP Subhendu Adhikari said the violence was “an expression of people’s pent-up anger”.

“The CPM had been stockpiling arms and ammunition in its offices and the homes of party leaders. Since police will not enter these places, the task is left to us. It is a spontaneous movement.”

Unlike on earlier occasions, however, the police today arrested 14 Trinamul supporters for ransacking and arson. “We have set up seven police camps in the sensitive areas along the Talpatti canal to build confidence among the people,” said East Midnapore police chief P.K. Ghosh.

But the camps have not instilled any sense of security among many CPM supporters.

Prabodh Maity, a local committee member, has left his home in Bansgora and is refusing to return. His wife Namita said she had “no idea” where he was. “There has neither been any attack on us nor has anyone threatened us. But still there is a sense of fear,” Namita said. “Some Trinamul people had come home and told us my husband should meet them after his return since many of his comrades had switched to Trinamul.”

Kamarda gram panchayat member Haripada Bera is among them. “I’m joining Trinamul since the CPM no longer enjoys popular support here,” Bera said.

Mouthing words that Trinamul used till the other day, he added: “The police cannot provide us (CPM supporters) any protection.”

In Calcutta, home secretary Ardhendu Sen ruled out a central team’s visit to inspect the situation in Khejuri.