One person was killed and five others, including a police officer, were injured as violence broke out between supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Trinamool Congress in three villages in the Khanakul area of West Bengal’s Hooghly district on Thursday.
Even though the Trinamool Congress claimed that the victim, Ananta Dolui, was its supporter and alleged that he was killed by the CPI(M) cadres, the State’s Home Secretary, Ardhendu Sen, said that his political affiliation was yet to be ascertained.
According to Sailen Sinha, district president of the Trinamool Congress, armed cadres of the CPI(M) raided Majhpur, Baradighi and Chandrabhan villages in a series – firing indiscriminately at houses of Trinamool Congress supporters, ransacking and torching them .
“Mr. Dolui was shot at while he was working on the field. He died on the spot. Three other of our supporters also suffered bullet injuries,” Mr. Sinha told The Hindu over telephone.
The officer-in-charge of the Khanakul police station, Sukomal Das, also suffered a bullet injury in his leg when he, along with a police team, tried to intervene. His condition was later reported to be stable.
Following a meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Mr. Sen told reporters here that Hooghly’s district magistrate and police superintendent have been asked to convene an all-party meeting to restore peace in the area.
“We want the police to take strong action, irrespective of party affiliation to bring the situation under control,” he said.
Speaking to a local television channel from New Delhi, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee held the “misadministration of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government” responsible for the incident and demanded that a Central team should visit the area immediately.
“I have spoken to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi about today’s[Thursday] violence….Mr. Chidambaram have assured me that a Central team will visit the affected areas within a few days. He will decide on the date of the visit after his return from Mumbai,” Ms. Banerjee said.
Pointing out that more than 100 of her party supporters were killed in political violence in the State since the recent Lok Sabha elections, she alleged that the administrative system has become puppets at the hands of the CPI(M) whose cadres are using arms from the State armoury to spread violence.
Ms. Banerjee said: “We had asked for the imposition of Article 356 in the State not only for early Assembly elections but also to stop all the violence.”
The district’s police superintendent, Satyajit Bandopadhyay, told The Hindu that the situation was brought “under control” later in the day.