Trinamool Congress secretary general and industry minister Partha Chatterjee visited injured Abdur Rezzak Mollah at the hospital clasping a bouquet of flowers on Monday evening in a last ditch public relation exercise against the backdrop of mounting criticism of the party’s stand over the incident.
Chatterjee’s surprise visit triggered confusions regarding the party’s stand on the issue with urban development minister Firhad Hakim blaming Mollah for indulging in ‘cheap tricks’ just the day before. Chatterjee refused to comment on what transpired between the two at the end of his meeting with Mollah.
Though a dour faced Chatterjee left without a comment, party sources told HT, Rezzak advised the minister to rein in leaders such as Arabul Islam, who are always eager to flex muscle.
Chatterjee wanted to know as to what Mollah was doing at the Trinamool meeting. Mollah explained to him that he merely went there to inspect the CPI(M) office that was set on fire.
Meanwhile, hospital sources informed that Mollah is fit and ready to be discharged. “We are ready to discharge him, but his family members insist that he be kept in the hospital, for further rest. They want us to take his age into consideration,” said a hospital official on condition of anonymity.
Though Mollah lost a tooth and received two stitches on his lower lip on Sunday when he was allegedly beaten up by a mob of Trinamool workers in Bhangar led by controversial leader Arabul Islam, hospital authorities said that the X-ray revealed no internal injuries.
Mollah though complained of pain in his waist. Leader of the opposition Suryakanta Mishra claimed that the hospital authorities are being pressurised by the administration to discharge Mollah.
“The administration is pressurising hospital authorities to discharge Mollah so that his injuries could be shown as not too serious. This is starkly similar to when the SSKM hospital refused admission to CPI(M) MLAs Gauranga Chatterjee and Debolina Hembram, who were beaten up in the assembly a few days back,” alleged Mishra.
Early on Monday morning, rebel Trinamool MP Kabir Suman visited Mollah in the hospital and blasted Hakim for his ‘provocative comments’ on Sunday soon after the incident.
“Hakim clearly indicated that Rezzak would have been sent to the grave. He is preaching violence. How can he speak of murdering a Haji?” wondered Suman, reacting to the minister’s comments that Mollah would not have been able to reach the hospital if the crowd of 4000 people, present at the meet, had turned on him.
“I would have been happier if the chief minister herself would have visited Mollah in hospital. Where is this violence leading us? Let there be an open debate as to how the movement against CPI(M) started and what it has degenerated into,” said Suman.
Late on Sunday night, Bhangar Trinamool leader Bimal Naskar lodged a counter FIR against Mollah at Kolkata Leather Complex (KLC) police station for instigating and threatening the mob. Mollah was attacked when he went to inspect a party office at Kantatala in Bhangar that was burnt down by alleged Trinamool workers late on Saturday night. Islam was addressing a party gathering at the venue.
However, the Trinamool defended Islam and pointed fingers at Mollah for instigating a ‘scuffle’ and conducting a ‘drama’. An FIR was lodged by Mollah’s driver Amar Ghosh against Islam and six other Trinamool workers including Samad Mollah, Pradip Mondal, Tara Das, Satyajit Mondal, Bidhan Mallick and Sagar Mondal.
Mishra, however made it clear that he would not relent on his stand and that the CPI(M) would go for bigger agitation once the deadline for Islam’s arrest expires at 12 pm on Tuesday.
The attack on the former land and land reforms minister and stand adopted by top Trinamool voices vis-a-vis the incident has evoked outrage across several sections of the state.