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regular-article-logo Friday, 21 June 2024

Rural polls: Trinamul Congress worker gunned down, 15 injured during clash in West Midnapore

TMC activist Ziarul Molla, 52, a resident of Basanti, South 24-Parganas, was shot dead when he was returning home from Canning around 9pm on Saturday

Subhasish Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 03.07.23, 06:38 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File photo

A Trinamul activist was killed in South 24-Parganas on Saturday night while Trinamul and ISF workers clashed in West Midnapore on Sunday morning, leaving at least 15 injured, as sporadic incidents of violence continued to erupt in several parts of Bengal in the run-up to the July 8 rural polls.

Trinamul activist Ziarul Molla, 52, a resident of Basanti, South 24-Parganas, was shot dead when he was returning home from Canning around 9pm on Saturday.

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Police said that a group of goons blocked his way near Phulmalancha-Chatrakhali and shot him from close range.

At least two bullets pierced his head killing him instantly.

Molla was rushed to Canning sub-divisional hospital where he was declared dead.

Molla’s daughter Manwara is a Trinamul candidate for the rural polls from Kanthalberia gram panchayat. Some insiders claimed that Manwara’s nomination didn’t go down well with a rival faction of the party.

Manwara told reporters that her father was threatened and asked to quit politics. “Many in the party did not like my nomination.... I suspect their hand in the murder. My father told police about the threat but they did nothing,” she said.

Molla’s son Mizanur Molla also echoed Manwara’s allegations.

Trinamul MLA from Canning West, Pareshram Das, termed Molla’s murder an “irreparable loss”.

“He was a dedicated party worker. He was soft-spoken and a gentleman. It is beyond my imagination he could ever be murdered,” Das told The Telegraph. “I have told the police to do everything possible to nab the persons who killed Ziarul Molla,” the MLA added.

Apprehending tension, the district administration has deployed armed police forces in several pockets of Basanti. Subdivisional police officer of Canning Dibakar Das said they had started probing the murder. “The motive could not be ascertained yet. We are examining all possible aspects,” he said.

Till Sunday evening, no one was arrested in connection with Molla’s murder.

On Sunday morning, at least 15 persons were injured during a clash between ISF and Trinamul supporters in Chandrakona of West Midnapore district. The ISF leadership alleged that armed goons with proximity to the ruling party attacked their supporters when they were leading a rally in Krishnapur village of Bhagawantpur-I gram panchayat on Sunday morning.

Local sources said that initially, ISF supporters stepped back, but soon they invited more supporters to retaliate, which led to a violent clash. At least nine houses of CPM and ISF candidates were ransacked during the clash apart from several two-wheelers that were damaged allegedly by Trinamul activists.

The injured were taken to Chandrakona rural hospital. However, later five persons were transferred to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital as their condition worsened.

Accusing Trinamul, CPM leader Sushmit Pal said: “It was a planned attack. The ruling party leadership has issued a diktat here that no Opposition party can campaign. We with ISF dared them and began campaigning today (Sunday). It angered Trinamul and they attack us.”

ISF’s local convener Razibul Rehman said they had prior permission for the rally. “But a group of goons from Garbeta brought by the local Trinamul leadership attacked us. Police remained silent,” he alleged.

Local Trinamul leader Rakesh Sarkar, however, rubbished the ISF’s allegation.

“We were campaigning in Krishnapur when ISF goons attacked our supporters. Our supporters bravely resisted the attack,” he claimed.

A large contingent of police has been deployed in the area to avert any further trouble.

Additional reporting byAnshuman Phadikar

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