A fresh spurt of violence left a schoolteacher dead and several injured in Nandigram and Khejuri on Monday.
The CPI(M) has called a 12-hour bandh at Khejuri to protest against the death of teacher Manas Mondol, who was a local CPM leader.
Around 1 pm on Monday, activists of Bhumi Uchched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) led by the Trinamool Congress entered CPM-dominated Khejuri, assaulted villagers and ransacked 16 houses.
When Mondol (49), a CPM local committee member, protested, he was shot at the back of his head from point-blank range. He died on the spot.
Trouble began at Nandigram and Khejuri around 9.30 am, when CPM cadres and BUPC activists exchanged fire and threw bombs at each other’s posts.
Sounds of gunfire rang in the air throughout the day in Satangabari, Ranichak, Tekhali, Bhangaberia, Chunpuri Khal, Tuleghata and Hatkumari in Nandigram and Khejuri areas.
“Policemen posted in the areas simply stood by as mute spectators. They refused to act,” alleged Ashok Guria, CPM secretariat member, East Midnapore District.
CPM leaders say the fresh violence is due to the popular response to their recently-concluded local committee and zonal committee sammelans at Nandigram and Khejuri on October 31.
“They created panic in the Opposition. When they understood that the people were with us, they resorted to violence and stopped us from holding the
Local Committee sammelan at Daudpur,” said Guria.
The party also has another theory. CPM claims it is over six months now that 3,000 party supporters were forced out of their homes. These people are trying to return to their homes, leading to the violence.
BUPC leaders refuted the allegations, arguing armed CPM cadres are making incursions into the villages and disturbing law and order. “With panchayat elections around the corner, the CPM is desperate to regain control over the areas,” said BUPC leader Sk Abu Taher.