At least six persons were injured, three of them grievously after being hit by bullets, in clashes between political activists in West Bengal’s Malda and South 24 Parganas districts on Monday.
And the violence involving the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists at Kaliachak, some 350 km from here,was triggered by dispute over grabbing the wall spaces to paint the election graffiti.
The trio, who sustained bullet injuries, were villagers caught up in the crossfire. And they were admitted to Malda Medical College in a critical state.
Following the clashes, a large contingent of Rapid Action Force (RAF)has been deployed at the village. However, no arrests have been made till late on Monday. Despite tension prevailing in the area, the police managed to disperse the activists of both the political parties.
A traditional Congress stronghold-- which had been the preserve of party stalwart, the late A B A Ghanikhan Chowdhury-- the erstwhile Malda LS seat that had become Maldaha Uttar and Maldaha Dakshin Parliamentary seats following a decision by the Delimitation Commission are currently represented by state Youth Congress chief Mausam Noor and Union Minister A H Khan Chowdhury respectively. Both Noor and Khan Chowdhury have been renominated by the Congress.
Meanwhile, local TMC leader and West Bengal Minister for Social welfare Sabitri Mitra said, “It were the Congress workers, who started the trouble by first threatening our workers (TMC) asking them not to paint on the walls. They then resorted to violence by opening firing on our workers and set ablaze the thatched houses of our supporters. They even ransacked our party office and destroyed vehicles. Apprehending defeat, Khan Chowdhury is directing his goons to attack our workers.”
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya, though, countered it saying, “Sabitri is indulging in falsehood. The TMC workers are resorting to violence, in order, to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere and intimidate our workers. The state police, in fact, is aiding the TMC activists when they are attacking their political opponents.”
In the second incident at Basanti in South 24 Parganas, the TMC workers clashed with an activist of the RSP, which is a member of the Opposition CPM-led Left Front(LF). “I was putting up posters when the TMC supporters led by a local leader threatened me to stop. I defied them saying I had every right. They then attacked me and ransacked my home,” said RSP worker Mahroof Sardar.
Further, he alleged that his wife and daughter were injured in the TMC outrage. However, a local TMC leader denied the charge and said it was the result of a land dispute in Mahroof’s family.
Meanwhile, in Howrah district, tension prevailed as large cutouts of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and TMC general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, Mukul Roy were defaced.
However, sitting TMC MP and former Indian football captain Prasun Banerjee, who has been renominated said, “When I came to my election office on Monday, I found that the flex boards outside the main gate had been smeared with black paint.This is how our political opponents are behaving. But the people will give them a fitting reply.”