Left, Trinamool trade charges on violence

CALCUTTA, JULY 12.The violence in Keshpur rocked the West Bengal Assembly today with the ruling Left and Trinamool Congress accusing each other of committing atrocities.

While the CPI(M) along with other Left Front members charged the Trinamool Congress with instigating the violence, the Trinamool MLAs demanded Central intervention to restore peace.

The Trinamool MLA, Mr. Shobhandev Chattopadhyay, claimed that people in Midnapore had lost confidence in the Jyoti Basu Government and the police force. This was evident from the statement of the Superintendent of Police a few days ago that people preferred to approach political parties for security to the police.

Keshpur witnessed, in the past few months, many clashes between workers of the Trinamool and the Leftists, especially the CPI(M). According to the police, five persons died this month and hundreds of houses were torched.

The Trinamool Congress supremo and the Railway Minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, on Monday directed her party MPs to visit Keshpur and prepare a report on the ``CPI(M) atrocities against Trinamool workers.'' Accordingly, A delegation, led by Mr. Sudip Bandopadhyay, M.P, visited the area and met the SP, who said the party supporters could help the administration bring back peace by refraining from violence-laced politics. Ms. Banerjee also urged the Union Home Ministry to consider imposing Article 355 (President's rule) in Bengal. However, the Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, was not agreeable and had asked the Chief Secretary to submit a report.

Mr. Chattopadhyay told the House that people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were being killed in the violence. At least 250 of their houses had been set on fire by ``CPI(M) miscreants.''

Meanwhile, the Director-General of Police, Mr. Deepak Sanyal, left for Keshpur on Tuesday to find out why the police had failed to restore normalcy.

Interestingly, the Congress MLA, Mr. Saugata Ray, supported the Trinamool's stand. Mr. Badal Bhattacharya of the BJP demanded that an all-party meeting be convened to restore peace.

Students lathicharged

UNI reports:

The police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse a group of Madrasa students, who gathered in front of the Assembly. The students belonging to the West Bengal Madrasa Students' Union alleged that the Government was apathetic to Madarasa education. Over 30 students were arrested.