A 30-year-old civil volunteer was killed during an alleged intra-party clash of Trinamul supporters in North Dinajpur early on Thursday, the incident threatening to drive a wedge within the party in the district ahead of the panchayat polls with an MLA threatening to resign.
Police and local sources said that a group of goons allegedly backed by Mehboob Alam, the chief of Matikunda-1 panchayat in Islampur block and a close aide of district Trinamul president Kanaiyalal Agarwal, attacked the house of Shanawaj Alam, a follower of local Trinamul MLA Abdul Karim Choudhury, late on Wednesday night.
“It was a clash for power and area domination,” said a resident of Matikunda, a village about 100km from district headquarters Raiganj.
Nawshad Alam, a relative of deceased civic volunteer Sakib Alam and a distant relative of Shanawaj, said that some 60-odd goons led by Mehboob assembled in front of Shanawaj’s house. Sakib’s home was near Shanawaj’s home.
“Initially, the goons threatened us and asked Shanawaj to come out of his house. They hurled bombs that injured Sakib seriously. They also fired several rounds of bullets forcing us family members to run helter-skelter,” said Nawshad, who also lives near Shanawaj and Sakib.
He said that the goons left the spot around 1am on Thursday. The seriously injured Sakib was then rushed to Islampur sub-divisional hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
Islampur MLA Choudhury on Thursday threatened to resign from Trinamul unless “immediate action” was taken against district Trinamul president Agarwal.
“I have requested chief minister Mamata Banerjee to immediately remove both the district and block presidents. If my submission is ignored, I will resign from my post,” MLA Chowdhury said on Thursday.
The MLA claimed Agarwal didn’t listen to him and appointed Jakir Hussain, “an anti-social” as the block president. He claimed that just like Mehboob, Jakir was also attacking his supporters.
The supporters of MLA demonstrated in front of Islampur police station and also blocked NH31 for an hour from 11am.
Agarwal refused to comment on the incident. Jakir, the newly appointed block president, said: “All allegations against me are baseless.”
Sources said that infighting in Trinamul ahead of the rural polls did not bode well, especially when rural polls were near. “The rift at the district level may create problems for the party during the panchayat polls,” said an observer.
Bishop Sarkar, district police chief, said they have detained 12 persons and intensified police patrolling in the locality. A police picket has also been set up in the area.