At least five people were killed in a clash in a West Bengal village on Saturday, a police official said. While some reports said it was a clash between supporters of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and rival Trinamool Congress, others said one or two "criminal gangs" were involved.
The clash between the two groups occurred at Papuri village in Birbhum district, about 200 km from Kolkata, Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.
"There are allegations that the deceased were CPI-M supporters and were killed by rival Trinamool Congress supporters. But only after proper investigation we will be able to tell if the clash was political or one between villagers and local criminals," Kanojia said.
CPI-M leader Ashibur Rehman said four of the five people killed were their supporters, and alleged that Trinamool Congress activists were responsible for the incident.
"Lalbabu, Rijai, Mokhtar Sheikh and Rashed, who died, were our supporters. They were killed by hired goons of Trinamool when they tried to enter the village early on Saturday," Ganguly said.
But CPI-M district secretary Dilip Ganguly said the clash took place between two criminal gangs.
"Two gangs of criminals clashed over control over the village," Ganguly said.
Trinamool leader Partho Chattopadhyay too said the clash was not a political one.
"It was not a political clash, but one between villagers and criminals who tried to trespass into the village," Chattopadhyay said.