6 dead in burdwan, 3 battling for life, farmers come out to vote in singur, nandigram decides
BURDWAN, 15 July
Election day turned bloody across Burdwan today – as violence claimed three lives and left at least half a dozen battling for life with splinter injuries.
Burdwan was rocked by the successive killing of party workers leaving voters horrified at a booth in Madhudanga village in Jamuria. Five bikers rode into the booth area at around 6.45 am and spotted Sheikh Hasmat (35) – husband of the CPI-M GP candidate Manoara Sheikh wrangling with Trinamul Congress supporters.
“They got down from the bikes and hurled a bomb at Hasmat who fell on the ground,” said Sheikh Zabbar, brother of the deceased adding: “I had a narrow escape. Two youths of our locality were escorting the assailants.” One armed policeman, according to Mr Sujit Konda – a voter: “Was a mute spectator and and didn’t dare to take on the intruders.”
The infuriated voters started chasing the bikers and caught Rajkumar Konda (30) and lynched him . He was identified as a local Trinamul Congress supporter. “He was attacked with an axe and succumbed on the way to the hospital. This was a pre-planned murder,” said Mr Moloy Ghatak, state Agriculture minister and Chairman, Burdwan District Trinamul Congress. Mr Bansogopal Chowdhury, MP and district committee leader of the CPI-M pooh-poohed the conspiracy charge and said: “This is absurd. Our party man was killed first which caused the locals to erupt. The Trinamul Congress had hired goons from Jharkhand. The slain Trinamul Congress worker was also an outsider.”
The police and the district authorities suspect a long time gang-rivalry over illegal coal trafficking from a private mine in neighbouring Rakhakuria village as the real reason behind the killing.
Before the district authorities could come to terms with the Jamuria twin murders, it was trouble ravaged Mongalkote that recorded the third casualty. A Trinamul Congress supporter Shahidulla Mallik (35) was killed when an armed group stormed into the booth premises in Purba Nowpara village and started hurling bombs indiscriminately. Mr Laltu Mallik, brother of the slain leader alleged: “The assailants were backed by Kashem Kazi – leader of a rebel group of the party. He, earlier had threatened my brother several times which duly was conveyed to the police.”
Mr Ghatak however insisted that Shahidulla was killed by CPI-M led goons. The CPI-M denied the charge.
Out of total 4781 booths, 1743 were marked as hyper sensitive, 1319 as hypo- sensitive. The Madhudanga and Nowpara booths however were not included in the list in the absence of intelligence inputs, senior officials said. The district recorded average 75.57 percent polling till 5 pm and Khandaghosh block witnessed highest 82.14 percent polling and Pandaveswar recorded 60.29 percent – turnout. The district administration has proposed re-polling in eight booths. The CPI-M brought charges of booth-jamming, rigging and party&’s district secretary, Mr Amol Haldar alleged: “We have recorded that 632 booths were captured across the district. We are preparing the list to press for re-polling.”In booth No: 28, a ZP candidate of CPI-M, Mrs Suptava Karfa was arrested in Rayan village in Burdwan on charges of provoking voters. A CPI candidate for Panchayat Samiti in Andal Mrs Parveen Banoo Ansari and her husband Mr Jawed Ansari were denied voting rights as their names were missing from the voter’s list. The DM, Burdwan, Mr Onkar S Meena said: “The matter needs to be inquired.” The forces had to resort to one round of firing at Dalurbandh in Pandaveswar where in booth No: 14, intruders destroyed the ballot papers and assaulted Congress candidate Mrs Barfee Ali Begum. In Bamsore village in Bhatar two Trinamul Congress supporters – Mr Rezaul Haq and Mr Sheikh Abdul Hakim were shot at Mr Ghatak however claimed the assailants were CPI-M supporters. The injured were shifted to the Burdwan Medical College & Hospital. The SP, Burdwan, Mr S M H Meerza said: “In all 17 arrests were made from Bhatar, Jamalpur, Burdwan, Mongalkote, PS areas.” He added: “Four firearms and four bombs were seized from Bhatar and Mongalkote areas.”
Which way will Singur sway?
Singur,Dhanekhali, Arambagh, 15 July
The panchayat elections in the Hooghly district concluded peacefully on Monday, with 76 per cent votes being registered.
The Singur Tata project issue played a major role had played a vital role in ousting the Left Front government and bring the Trinamul in power, but the lingering court cases over land return had left the Singur farmers shattered and anger was piling up against the ruling TMC government for failing to act on its promise. The ruling Trinamul government could sense the negative attitude of the farmers.
The court ruling on the case a few days ago came as a boon to the anxious TMC leadership, who didn’t know how to pacify the agitated farmers.
The members of Bera Beri purva para and Khasherberi of Singur regained the lost faith in the TMC government and expectedly their votes went in favour of the TMC.
Mr Prosonjit Das the TMC Yuva Congress president, Beraberi Singur and an active leader of Krishi Rakha committee said that the CPM supporters or the willing farmers who had received cheque for selling their lands have now realised their mistake. They lost their land and money and now thay have shifted allegiance to the TMC.
Some of the unwilling farmers Govinda Pada Manna, Rabin Das, Abhay Bag, Sandhya Das, Suchitra Das and others whose lands were taken away against their will voted for the TMC. Mr Achito Das of Beraberi who had willingly given his three bighas against a payment of Rs 9,64,000 said: "We originally CPM supporters but the changing circumstance have led us to change our support."
Mrs Aparna Bag of Khasherberi, Singur, said that there was no chance of getting back her land.
Manuja Bibi, the widow of the Nasiruddin, and also a Congress candidate said that the TMC threatened Congress supporters. She, however, said that she was confident of winning.
Manuja Bibi was allegedly attacked by goons backed by the TMC for speaking to the media.
Ashima Patra, Dhanekhali MLA, was not available for comments to Manuja Bibi’s allegations.
A few stray incidents of violence was reported at Haripal Panch Gachi , Jangipara , Gurap, Polba, Dadpur, Keshabchak at Tarkeswar, Chapadanga, Kulti Girls’ School, Kaniapur at Konnagar and others. But the situation was soon brought under control by duty officers, state police and Central forces.
In Salepur Arambagh, Mr Priyo Ranjan Pal, a CPI leader alleged that their candidate and member Mr Golakpati Barui and Vidya Pati Barui were harassed by TMC goons.
The CPI-M’s women wing members soon took to the streets protesting the attack.
The SDO, SDPO rushed to the spot soon brought the situation under with the help of police and Central force. Five CPI workers were arrested by police for breaking law and order.
Will Nandigram champion change?
Tamluk, 15 July
The second phase of five phase three-tire panchayat election in East Midnapore, which also inclues Nandigram, passed off peacefully barring a few stray incidents of violence. Millions braved heat, high humidity and intimidation and cast their votes.
Just as voters came out in numbers in Junglemahal, East Midnapore also saw unprecedented number of voters exercising their mandate. At places like Nandigram, Khejuri and Tamluk, where minority community reside in large numbers, men and women were seen standing in long queues even after 5 p.m.
The average polling in the district was recorded as 75.17 per cent till 5 p.m., but the percentage is set to increase as people were seen waiting outside polling booths even after sundown.
Expressing satisfaction over the voting process, the district election officer said that the polling was peaceful and no major incident was reported.
The Oppositions, CPI-M and Congress, however, brought several allegations of booth jamming and booth capturing against the ruling Trinamul Congress.
The district Trinamul Congress leadership has, however, brushed aside the allegations.
The Pradesh Congress leader, Dr Manas Bhuina, alleged that at least 15 booths in Moyna were rigged as the TMC workers deliberately tried to drive out the agents and threatened candidates and voters. At least five Congress workers were injured in a clash between Trinamul and Congress workers at Moyna, Pataspur and Bhagwanpur soon after the polls began.
Mr Bhuniya also alleged that Central forces were not used in most of the booths, identified as sensitive.
Mr Niranjan Sihi, a CPI-M district committee leader alleged that the Trinamul Congress unleashed a reign of terror in most of the areas on their party workers and supporters threatening them against casting votes. They did not allow CPI-M supporters to enter booths at Amrabali, Sarsatta, Paschim Nekra, Joy Krishnapur, Norai and Muralichawk in Panskura. This apart, the CPI-M has failed to deploy at least 600 polling agents at booths in Nandigram –I and II, Khejuri-I and II and Mugberia blocks only. “The TMC members rigged these booths,” said Mr Sihi.
In Nandigram at booth no 29/1, one Trinamul Congress worker was injured during a clash between Trinamul Congress and Congress. The victim was later admitted to the Nandigram block hospital. There were tensions at few booths in Nandigram, as some Independent candidates tried to capture booths with the help of some Trinamul dissidents.
In Contai-III block, a police of the state government was seen wearing CRPF dress and he was posted at a sensitive booth while there was no Central force. A complaint was lodged by the CPI-M with the state election commission for which the said police man was forced to wear his own police dress.
Mr Subhendu Adhikari, Trinamul Congress MP from Tamluk who personally visited the places to monitor the polls alleged that the CRPF broke down a Trinamul&’s camp office at Salma booth in Pataspur. This apart, the CPI-M workers had unleashed terror on Trinamul voters threatening them against
As a result, hundreds of voters did not come out to cast votes, but later the CRPF jawans and state police accompanied them to the polling booths, Mr Adhikari said.
He added that the CPI-M workers tried to capture booths at Dharmaberpur in Kolaghat, but police foiled their efforts.