Murshidabad, Birbhum violence-hit a day before fourth phase of rural election
statesman news service
Kolkata/Berhampore, 21 July
Violence erupted in Murshidabad and Birbhum today, 24 hours before the fourth phase panchayat poll is held in the two districts along with Nadia and Malda, leaving three persons, reportedly owing allegiance to the Congress, dead and several others injured.
The Murshidabad Congress leadership said two of their party supporters ~ Hayat Sheikh and Nurul Sheikh from Kapasdanga area of Beldanga ~ were killed in bomb attacks launched by the CPI-M and the Trinamul Congress.
However, the Trinamul district chief, Md. Ali denied the allegation and claimed the two Congress activists succumbed to splinter injuries they sustained when the bombs they were manufacturing went off.
In another incident at Bharatpur area under Salar police station, a Congress supporter, Ripon Sheikh, was killed during indiscriminate bombing by miscreants early today. The Congress blamed the Trinamul for the incident.
“We had informed the district police that armed goons had been hired by the Trinamul, but the police ignored our warning and took no step. This led to the violence,” a Congress district leader alleged.
The Congress also complained that Trinamul activists on motor bikes moved in the Rejingar area intimidating the voters.
The CPI-M alleged that a party activist, Mr Shajahan Sheikh, was injured when bombs were hurled from a Trinamul bike rally. Mr Sheikh, husband of a CPI-M contestant, Mrs Tarafone Bibi, was admitted to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital. Ano-
ther CPI-M activist, Mr Ataul Rahaman was hit
in firing by the bike brigade of the ruling party, the
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the state election commission for the widespread violence in the state. “The spiral of violence is because of the SEC&’s insistence that the rural poll be held in multiple phases, while we were for one-day poll,” she said.
Expressing sorrow at the loss of lives in poll violence, Miss Banerjee posted in a social website: “Every death is a tragedy, irrespective of the party he or she belongs to. A family loses a precious member who can never be replaced. Election is being conducted by the SEC and not the government.”
She accused the Congress of trying to “create mischief” in the fourth and fifth phases as it has some base in Malda and Murshidabad district.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Mr Pradip Bhattacharya, meanwhile, said he would meet the governor, Mr M K Narayanan, requesting him to ask the Centre to send a special team to probe into the political murders and lack of law and order during the polls in the state. “After the polls a Congress delegation will meet the PM and the Union home minister and will clearly describe what is happening in Bengal,” Mr Bhattacharya added, at a press meeting in Siliguri.