Two Trinamul Congress workers owing allegiance to a leader suffered injuries when they were fired at by members of a rival faction in the party in North Dinajpur district on Thursday.
The injured duo are under treatment at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri in critical condition.
Sources said ahead of the panchayat elections, it had been found that around 80 Trinamul workers, who were from the lobby of the party’s district president Kanaialal Agarwala or were associates of Hamidul Rehman, the Trinamul MLA of Chopra, were eager to contest the polls in different seats of Gobindapur panchayat.
The panchayat is located in Islampur block of the district but under Rehman’s Assembly seat.
With such being the situation, it was decided that the party would not distribute any symbol among the willing workers and they should contest as Independents. Those who will win will form the board.
Accordingly, as many as 64 Trinamul workers filed nominations from both the lobbies.
“There are 23 seats in the panchayat. As the results were announced, it was found that 12 from Kanaialal Agarwala’s lobby and 11 from Hamidul Rehman’s lobby have won,” said a party insider.
After some days, Zakir Hossain, the Trinamul president of Islampur block and an associate of Agarwala, alleged that suspected criminals engaged by Rehman, the Chopra MLA, had abducted two of their elected members – Mohammad Zahid Alam and Mohammad Aslam — from Suri of Birbhum.
“Since then, the duo couldn’t be traced. This morning, they managed to escape from a house in Siliguri where they were kept confined, and reached our place,” said Hossain.
Along with the two members and some supporters, Hossain reached Islampur police station on Thursday. There, the duo filed a complaint against the MLA and also gave their statements to the police.
“On July 8, we were abducted from Suri. They initially took us to Jharkhand and from there, they went on shifting us to various locations in Bihar. Those guarding us had made it clear that we would have to lose our lives if we tried to escape. A few days ago, we were taken to Siliguri and kept in a house. This morning, we somehow managed to escape from there while the person who was posted there went to a washroom,” said Alam.
Aslam, on the other hand, mentioned that during their stay in different places, whatever conversations they had heard, hinted that the MLA was behind the abduction.
“We have clearly mentioned it to the police,” he said.
From Islampur, the Trinamul supporters who are with Agarwala’s lobby and hail from villages which are under Gobindapur panchayat returned their homes.
As they reached Kapranga, a village under the panchayat, some miscreants, who are suspected to be associates of the MLA, fired at them.
Mujibal Haque and Bazrul Haque, who were in the group, were hit by bullets in their abdomen. They were rushed to the subdivisional hospital and later shifted to NBMCH.
The police arrived and searches are on to nab the attackers, sources said.
Agarwala, the district president, said they had sent a report on the MLA to the state leadership. “We have mentioned it clearly the MLA was behind the abduction of these two panchayat members and suspect he also orchestrated today’s attack. The police should probe the case and arrest the attackers,” he said.
Rehman, the Trinamul MLA of Chopra, however, denied the charge. “Some people are raising baseless allegations against me and trying to implicate me in false cases. We already have a majority in Gobindapur panchayat and don’t need to indulge in such unethical acts,” he said.