A clash broke out between Trinamul Congress and BJP supporters at Kankinara in North 24-Parganas district in which BJP MP Arjun Singh suffered head injuries today when police allegedly staged a baton charge to disperse the mob. Later BJP supporters put up a road block and police again allegedly resorted to lathicharge to disperse them in which several BJP supporters and reporters were injured.
The BJP has called a 12-hour bandh in Barrackpore subdivision tomorrow to protest the attack on the party’s MP. Mr Singh claimed that Barrackpore police commissioner Manoj Verma struck him, inflicting an injury on his head. The MP, wearing a blood-soaked shirt and a bandage on his head, said that Mr Verma led a large police contingent which attacked a “peaceful” protest by the BJP over the capture of its party office at Shyamnagar.
A senior police officer, however, claimed that stones were being hurled during a clash between two groups at Kankinara, andMr Singh suffered injuries in the clash. Local sources said that a mob put up a road block and started pelting stones at the police officers as soon as the latter arrived at the spot. The force retaliated and batoncharged the gathering to clear the road. Both Shyamnagar and Kankinara come under the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, of which Mr Singh is the MP.
Several areas, including Bhatpara and Kankinara, in the constituency have been in the grip of violence since Mr Singh won the election on a BJP ticket, having deserted the ruling Trinamul Congress of which he was an MLA. Fresh clashes broke out between the supporters of the two parties on Sunday over control of a party office at Shyamnagar, local sources said. Earlier in the day, Singh’s vehicle was vandalised near Shyamnagar railway station. According to Ajay Thakur, DC-zone 1, Barrackpore police commissionerate, some miscreants attacked the Barrackpore MP’s car, smashing its windows.
“The matter has been reported to the police and an investigation is underway,” he said. The saffron party MP claimed that the TMC supporters attacked and damaged his car. He also said that the ruling party was using force to capture BJP party offices at various places in Barrackpore constituency, a charge which was denied by the Trinamul Congress. Senior TMC leader and state food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick asserted that it was the saffron party which had forcibly taken over the TMC’s party offices in Barrackpore.
“Arjun Singh should remember what his people had done to take over our party offices. Even chief minister Mamata Banerjee had caught the BJP workers red-handed while they painting a TMC office in saffron colour,” he added. Reporters alleged that a senior police officer with a large contingent of police manhandled them while they were covering the incident.