KOLKATA: Three men died of gunshot wounds on Monday, as a gun battle ensued between the ruling TMC and the BJP in a village in Birbhum district in West Bengal, while the NSA was visiting the adjoining district of Burdwan.
Bombs were hurled and muskets fired at Makra village, as a rampaging mob of armed TMC workers from a faraway village attacked the villagers who had joined the BJP, while the police allegedly remained mute spectators.
The armed battle went on for three hours and a teenager, Toufiq Sheikh, of Makra village died, while Suleman Sheikh and Mozammal Sheikh, who had come from a village eight km away, also died after suffering bullet injuries.
A BJP delegation was supposed to visit the neighbouring Choumandal village, where a large number of villagers, along with villagers of Makra, had quit the TMC to join the saffron brigade. The police had allegedly gone on a rampage, beating up villagers and looting homes.
The police team was also injured on Saturday, when the villagers, who had switched loyalties, hurled bombs at them. Later, during a raid, the police seized 18 drums containing indigenous bombs from a deserted Primary Health Centre.
Villagers alleged that following instructions by Birbhum TMC chief Anubrata Mondal, the police not only brutally beat them up, but also destroyed all the tube wells to deprive them of drinking water.
A police officer was critically injured as the raid party was allegedly attacked by villagers who hurled bombs at them. Considered to be a stronghold of the TMC, Mondal had courted infamy before the Panchayat polls in 2013, when he had asked the TMC workers to kill Opposition nominees and even hurl bombs at the police.
A rebel TMC nominee, Hriday Ghosh, who had won a Panchayat seat, was shot dead and the Calcutta High Court, after reprimanding the state police, had ordered a CBI probe.
Since the Lok Sabha polls, a new kind of polarisation is being witnessed in West Bengal, as large number of workers from the Left Parties, as well as the ruling TMC, including Muslims, started joining the BJP in hordes.