Trinamool Congress leader and former MLA Arabul Islam, who is the main accused in the attack on senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Abdur Razzak Molla, was arrested in the outskirts of the city on Thursday.
Mr. Islam was produced in the Baruipur Court and remanded to five days in police custody. He has been charged for several non-bailable offences including section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to murder), police sources said.
A group of people led by Mr. Islam had allegedly attacked Mr. Molla in the Bhangar area of the State’s South 24 Parganas district on January 6 leaving the CPI(M) MLA seriously injured. Mr. Islam is also alleged to have led the attack on supporters of the CPI(M) two days later when they were on their way to a demonstration to protest against the assault on Mr. Molla. Some supporters suffered bullet injuries even as several vehicles were set ablaze in the attack.
The Trinamool Congress leadership had backed Mr. Islam, but the violence had attracted criticism from all quarters. West Bengal Governor M. K. Narayanan, condemned the incident saying it was “goondaism.”
Mr. Molla, who is still admitted to a city hospital, was cautious in his response to the developments during the day as he believed that the arrest was part of a “pre-planned” strategy.
“This is just the first phase of a pre-planned strategy. Let us wait for the next stage and then I shall say what I have to say,” Mr. Molla said.
After his arrest, Mr. Islam underwent a medical check-up at the Baruipur hospital. The arrest had resulted in tensions in the Bhangar area.
When asked about the situation, Mr. Islam told journalists: “Whether Bhangar remains peaceful of not will be decided by them (Trinamool Congress workers).”
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, who is in the city for the ongoing meeting of the party’s central committee, met Mr. Molla in the hospital.
“We have been demanding for nearly two weeks that those responsible for the attack on Mr. Molla should be arrested. Today one of the main persons has been arrested. This is only the first step, a beginning,” Mr. Karat told journalists adding that the “follow up” of this arrest was crucial.
The Trinamool Congress’s rhetoric in response to the developments remained combative.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader and the State’s Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who had earlier said that “our people at Bhangur cannot sit at home and eat rasgullas when Arabul Islam, a youth leader of our party is assaulted,” warned that following Mr. Islam’s arrest the CPI(M) should not think that it can go to the area and create trouble again.