The convoy of Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was attacked by members of the Kurmi community on Friday at Salboni in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district.
While the vehicle in which Mr. Banerjee was travelling escaped the wrath of the Kurmi community, the other vehicles in the convoy including that of State Minister Birbaha Hansda came under attack.
The people from the community, who had gathered alongside State Highway 5, allegedly pelted stones on the vehicles and attacked the Trinamool Congress supporters who were on motorbikes. Several vehicles were destroyed and some police personnel injured.
“This is not a fight for a particular community. Today, what happened has nothing to do with the demand of a community. This is hooliganism and we condemn it,” Ms. Hansda, MLA from Jhargram, who is a member of the Scheduled Caste Community, said.
Protests by Kurmis had occurred at Simlipal in the State’s Bankura district a few days ago when Abhishek Banerjee was participating in his party’s outreach programme. Mr. Banerjee had spoken to the members of the community to diffuse tension.
Kurmis, in the State’s Jangalmahal region, have been on protest over the past few months demanding Scheduled Tribe status. In the second week of April this year, members of the community organised road and railway blockades for five days in the State’s Jangalmhal region.
“Kurmis are Khalistanis”
Earlier this month, Trinamool Congress leader Ajit Maity came under severe criticism when he called Kurmis “Khalistanis”. Higher ups in the Trinamool, including the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had apologised for the reamark by the party leader.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former president of party’s West Bengal unit Dilip Ghosh had also faced the ire of the members of the community. Mr. Ghosh’s remark that they helped the “Kurmi andolan by sending rice and lentils” infuriated the members of the community.
The members of the Kurmi community had demanded an apology from Mr. Ghosh and held a protest near his residence at Kharagpur in Paschim Medinipur district. State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar had to apologise for Mr. Ghosh’s remarks.
“Today, what happened has nothing to do with the demand of a community”Birbaha HansdaMinister of State for Forests and Self Help and Self Employment Group (Independent Charge)