Clashes, arson in WB, CPI-M men shot
At least three Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists sustained bullet injuries when clashes broke out at Bhangore in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal near here on Tuesday between the communists and the ruling Trinamool Congress.
Several vehicles were torched during the clashes which led to hospitalization of at least six CPI-M men, including some with bullet injuries, CPI-M leaders said.
Officials confirmed firing and arson and injuries to several people.
The CPI-M men were injured in the attack at a procession taken out by the communists to protest the attack on senior party leader and former minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah two days ago.
CPI-M alleged that the attack on them at Bhangore's Bamanghata is again at the instance of Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam, a former MLA who earned notoriety for a series of anti social activities blamed on him.
CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty said at least 50 vehicles were torched, including many buses.
TV footage showed a series of vehicles (small trucks) in flames on the road.
Arabul Islam on the other hand said the CPI-M led the attacks and opened fire.
A CPI-M delegation would be meeting the West Bengal governor at 6 pm on Tuesday to lodge protest.
Reports said the CPI-M activists were proceeding in a convoy of vehicles to protest the attack on Mollah when the fresh attacks took place.
The protest by CPI-M on Tuesday followed an attack on a senior and respected CPI-M leader and former minister, Rezzak Mollah, two days back allegedly by Arabul Islam and his men at Bhangore in South 24 Parganas.
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat in New Delhi condemned the attack.
On Jan 6, Abdur Rezzak Mollah was attacked and badly injured by a group allegedly led by Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam at Bhangore.
Rezzak, who was attacked shortly after noon on Sunday, was taken to a hospital on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, where he is undergoing treatment. He was hit on the eye, lips, stomach and abdomen, reports said.
Trinamool Congress later said the incident was a drama staged by the CPI-M.
Mollah alleged that he was roughed up by Arabul Islam himself among others.
Rezzak Mollah, known for his outspokenness even in criticising his own party leadership, was on way to a party office which was torched by allegedly Trinamool Congress supporters the previous day.
Trinamool on the other hand alleged that their party office was torched and CPI-M set on fire its own office to blame it on them.
Arabul Islam was also reportedly one of the leaders who organized a "vulgar dance show" by skimpily clad girls on the foundation day of Trinamool Congress recently where an old man was seen showering currency notes on the girls in a public function.
Political clashes are frequent in West Bengal ahead of any election. The state is going to a crucial Panchayat polls this year.