Three people were killed as a village in Birbhum district in Bengal turned into a battlefield on Monday, as Trinamool Congress and BJP supporters clashed openly with muskets and bombs.
Several others were injured in the clash at Marka village, which went on for close to three hours.
The deceased have been identified as Sheikh Suleman (45), Sheikh Tausif Ali (17) and Sheikh Mozammel (50). Suleman and Mozammel are reportedly TMC supporters, BJP has claimed Tausif is their supporter.
Significantly, the incident took place within Panrui police station limits, where on October 24, the police station officer in-charge was attacked with bombs.
“Trinamool men gathered a huge cache of arms and ammunition and goons from outside to capture our village. My brother was hit with a bullet in his stomach. He bled profusely and died on the spot,” said Sheikh Asif Ali, Tausif’s elder brother. Asif, himself suffered bullet injuries.
“The 10 to 15 people who had left the village came back with outsiders to launch an attack. They are Trinamool supporters,” claimed Tausif’s father.
The police reached the spot soon after but retreated, as a section of the villagers hurled bombs targeting the police vehicle. Firing continued even as more forces from neighbouring Koirashole, Ilambazar, Bolpur and Suri police stations gathered at the site.
“Keeping in mind the attack on OC Panrui on October 24, we did not take any risk on Monday, as the villagers and armed outsiders had outnumbered us,” a police officer said.
“We went to the village, but could not enter as we were outnumbered by outsiders who were carrying arms and explosives,” said Ananda Roy, additional police super of Birbhum.
Locals alleged the village went under BJP’s control since the Lok Sabha polls. Some Trinamool supporters fled the village about a month ago. On Monday, the men, including Sheikh Mozammel and his brother, Sheikh Enamul, returned to the village and were confronted by BJP supporters. Suleman was also with them.
“We did not attack anyone. The BJP attacked our men and killed Sheikh Suleman, who is our active member,” claimed Birbhum district Trinamool president Anubrata Mondal.
Three killed as BJP and TMC workers clash in West Bengal's Birbhum