With Arabul Islam, the alleged face of political violence just lately, cooling his heels in a police lock-up and the fledgling peace in his fief Bhangar holding for now, the district police bosses in the South 24-Parganas have now cast their net wide for rival and CPI(M) strongman Sattar Mollah.
However, perhaps fearing arrest or a likely reprisal from Arabul followers in the wake of arrest of the Trinamool leader, Mollah has been reported absconding from Bhangar since Thursday.
The arrest order reached the SP’s office from Lalbazar and even the local police station have been alerted.
According to sources, Arabul’s key charges in the area got word from the party top brass to avoid any escalation in the light of his arrest and not break the air of calm with reprisal attacks. Again, with district police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stepping up vigil and out in numbers in the area to enforce order, peace has continued to hold and there have been no new reports of a fresh spiral of violence in the restive town in the outskirts of the city.
A prominent CPI(M) rabble rouser and a known face of terror in the area, Sattar had reportedly been convicted for the abduction and murder of Yusuf Mollah, a resident of Chandpur in Bhangar, 18 years back.
Many have reportedly been crying for his blood, especially in the light of Arabul’s arrest, leading to fears of a fresh spiral in the event of a failure by the district police administration to land him behind bars.
Sattar, a district committee leader and zonal committee chairman of the CPI(M), had even been sentenced to life in connection with the abduction and murder dating back to July 29, 1995.
However, the case moved to a higher court, which granted him a reprieve. He was further implicated in a murder bid on Arabul and a gang of followers.
However, while Arabul was held for his alleged hand in the assault on veteran CPI(M) MLA and former minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, Sattar managed to evade the long arm of the law enforcers.
Sleuths probing the murder nailed Sattar’s hand in the crime and booked him under Section 302 (homicide). The killing, said detectives, was a fallout of a raging faction feud between a section of Marxist cadres aligned to Sattar and those loyal to Abdur Rezzak Mollah.
The rift in the CPI(M) ranks was out in the open after Sattar’s arrest and he was convicted to life by the 4th Fast Track Court of Alipore back on August 6, 2005. The sentence was handed down after a tenyear court battle.
However, sensing that Sattar was key to their chances in the 2006 Assembly polls, the Left bosses moved an appeal at the high court back on December 2005. After a fresh set of arguments he got bail on December 2, 2005. He had since been reinstated to his ranks in the party and continued in his strongarm vein.