A number of people were injured on Tuesday in firing and stone pelting in clashes between the workers of ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition CPI-M in West Bengal, leaders from rival parties claimed.
The clashes took place in South 24-Parganas district, about 30 km from Kolkata, in which over a dozen cars were reportedly torched.
When contacted, Superintendent of Police Pravin Tripathi conceded that there was a law and order issue, but could not provide any figures or details. "I don't have any data right now," Tripathi told IANS over phone.
CPI-M leaders alleged that 15 of their cadres were attacked with firearms at Bamanghata by Trinamool leader Arabul Islam and his men. The activists were among a large number of workers and leaders coming in a convoy of 60 vehicles to join a proposed demonstration at district headquarters Alipore against the attack on former minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, party leaders said.
"Fifteen of our workers were injured. Three of them have bullet injuries. Two were hit by stones. Several are serious," said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Bhangar zonal committee secretary Sattar Mollah.
On the other hand, Arabul Islam alleged that his car came under fire from the convoy carrying CPI-M workers.
"I have chest and leg injury. When they started firing, I fell under the car. They continued to fire. Then my workers rescued me," said Arabul, who was taken to a hospital.
Trouble flared up at Bhangar since late last week as one party office each of the CPI-M and Trinamool were damaged and set afire respectively.
When CPI-M legislator Mollah went to the area, he was allegedly attacked by Trinamool workers, led by former Trinamool lawmaker Arabul.
Mollah has been admitted to a private hospital with multiple injuries, and the incident has triggered a political uproar.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who was indisposed and earlier cancelled all her programmes, rushed to the state secretariat Writers' Buildings and held a high-level meeting with senior administrative and police officials to take stock of the situation.