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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Clashes mar board formations, Congress worker hacked to death by alleged Trinamul activists

Police have registered a case at Khargram police station, investigation is in progress

Subhasish Chaudhuri, Kousik Sen Calcutta/Raiganj Published 10.08.23, 07:04 AM
BJP supporters block a road in front of the Dhankail panchayat office in Kaliaganj block of North Dinajpur on Wednesday alleging the abduction of the party’s candidates

BJP supporters block a road in front of the Dhankail panchayat office in Kaliaganj block of North Dinajpur on Wednesday alleging the abduction of the party’s candidates Picture by Kousik Sen

A Congress supporter was hacked to death by alleged Trinamul activists in Murshidabad district as violence and protests marred the formation of boards in gram panchayats and panchayat samitis across Bengal on Wednesday.

The Telegraph narrates some of the incidents which were reported from some districts.

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Where: Ruhigram, Sadol panchayat, Khargram, Murshidabad

What happened: Humayun Kabir Khamaru, a 32-year-old Congress worker, was sitting with two other party supporters at a tea stall near a road crossing on Wednesday afternoon. He was the son of Shanowara Bibi, a Congress candidate who won a seat in the panchayat.

A victory procession of Trinamul was moving through the area as the party could form the board in the panchayat. Suddenly, some suspected Trinamul supporters strayed out of the march and attacked the youth with sharp weapons. Humayun was severely hacked. As the other two tried to save him, they too, were attacked.

Khamaru was pronounced dead when local people rushed him to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital. The other two are under treatment.

The youth was a migrant worker and stayed in Saudi Arabia. He had returned home eight months back, got married, and worked for his mother who contested the polls. He was scheduled to return to his workplace soon.

What parties say: Abdul Kasem, a Congress leader, said Trinamul workers were forcing his mother to defect. As she didn’t do it and her son supported her, he was murdered. Ashish Marjit, the Trinamul MLA of Khargram, however, said the incident is the fallout of personal rivalry and has no connection to politics.

Police have registered a case at Khargram police station. An investigation is in progress.

Where: Bhogali-I panchayat, Bhangar, South 24-Parganas

What happened: A day ahead of the formation of the board, the ruling Trinamul and ISF supporters clashed in Bhogali under the Kashipur police station of Bhangar on Wednesday afternoon.

ISF leaders accused local Trinamul leader Izaz Khan of assaulting a trader for an unsatisfied extortion demand. In retaliation, ISF supporters beat up Izaz which led to a clash despite the presence of the police and though prohibitory orders under section 144 were clamped in the area.

Nearly a dozen crude bombs were also hurled during the clash. Izaz has been admitted to a city-based private hospital with head injuries.

What parties say: Trinamul has accused ISF of unleashing tension a day before the formation of the board as the party lost in the elections. ISF has denied the charge and said local traders joined hands to resist the extortion attempt of a Trinamul leader.

Where: Sambhunagar, Gosba, South 24-Parganas

What happened: Trouble broke out during the formation of the board of Sambhunagar panchayat in Gosaba block after a winning couple of Trinamul Congress — Sulata Pramanik and Chitta Pramanik were elected as pradhan and upa-pradhan respectively.

A faction of the ruling party, led by Paritrosh Halder protested this “family rule” and proposed Pintu Das as the deputy chief of the panchayat. This eventually led to a clash among the rival factions, prompting police to use batons to bring the situation under control.

What the party said: The Trinamul leadership claimed that the problem was due to miscommunication. The party does not support any family rule or nepotism, a senior leader said.

Where: Basanti, South 24-Parganas

What happened: Armed miscreants close to a faction of Trinamul attacked senior party leader and former pradhan Shridam Mondal with sharp weapons near the Basanti gram panchayat premises, a little after his wife Parul Mondal, was elected the pradhan of the new board.

The attackers stabbed him at random and escaped. The victim was first taken to the sub-divisional hospital in Canning but later shifted to a city-based hospital as his condition deteriorated.

A mob later torched the house of Rohit Khan, a party worker and one of the suspects behind the attack.

What the party said: Canning West Trinamul MLA Pareshram Das has blamed RSP behind the attack. “As RSP failed to win in the polls, the party is inciting tension and attacking our men,” he said.

However, senior RSP leader and former minister Subhash Naskar rubbished the charge and termed it as an outcome of a factional feud within the ruling party.

Where: Dhankail, Kaliaganj, North Dinajpur

What happened: BJP leaders alleged that Trinamul has abducted three BJP candidates and a Trinamul candidate of Dhankail panchayat of Kaliaganj block on Wednesday, ahead of forming the board.

In the panchayat, there are 27 seats of which BJP has secured 12 seats. 11 seats went to Trinamul while CPM and Congress bagged two seats each. An independent candidate could win a seat.

The BJP supporters raised a blockade on a local rural road in protest and also demonstrated in front of the Kaliaganj police station. Till evening, the “abducted” members couldn’t be located. Trinamul, meanwhile, formed the board with the support of two Congress candidates.

What parties said: BJP accused Trinamul of abducting their candidates so that they couldn’t form the board. Trinamul leaders have denied the charge and said there was infighting within the BJP over the selection of the pradhan.

Where: Chanchal, Malda

What happened: In Chanchal panchayat under Chanchal-I block, two groups of Trinamul supporters clashed over the nomination of the upa-pradhan of the panchayat.

Heli Khatun, a Trinamul candidate, alleged that party’s block leaders replaced her with Moktar Hossain, another Trinamul candidate for the post. Local leaders intervened and separated the groups. Later, Hossain was elected to the post.

What the party said: Block Trinamul leaders said there was a communication gap. The decision to put Hossain in the post was made earlier, they said.

Where: Kaliachak, Malda

What happened: In Kaliachak - I block, an elected Trinamul candidate Julekha Bibi was attacked by some of her party workers who alleged that Bibi supported Congress during the election of the pradhan. Her car was also ransacked. A police team reached the spot and brought the situation under control;

What the party said: Trinamul leaders of the block said they are looking into the case. Anybody from the party found involved in the attack will face stringent steps, they said.

Where: Kharia, Jalpaiguri

What happened: In Kharia, the BJP had planned to form the board with the support of Congress and CPM. However, while forming the board, a Congress candidate supported Trinamul and the party could form the board.

This irked the BJP supporters and they resorted to protests and demonstrated before the police. A section of BJP supporters even tried to lock the panchayat office while others blocked the Jalpaiguri-Haldibari road. Police intervened and could clear the road.

Trinamul, in due course, announced the names of the pradhan and the upa-pradhan.

What the parties said: Manik Dutta, a BJP leader, said some outsiders had entered the office during the voting process to stop them from forming the board.

Subhash Chandra, a Trinamul leader, however, said BJP tried to foment tension as the party workers were aware that they can’t form the board.

Additional Reporting by Soumya De Sarkar in Malda, Alamgir Hossain in Murshidabad and our Jalpaiguri correspondent

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