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1 killed, several injured as violence erupts in Bengal over forming panchayat boards

Police said Mohammad was hit by a bomb as a clash broke out when members of Panditpota 1 gram panchayat were meeting to elect the president.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2018 18:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Midnapore/Berhampore/Kolkata
Bengal clashes,Panchayat board,Trinamool Congress
In the north Bengal district of Cooch Behar, a large police contingent had to be deployed on Friday in Pochagarh gram panchayat where a section of the TMC openly defied the diktats of the party and elected a different pradhan. (HT File Photo)

One person was killed and several injured during violence in several parts of Bengal during election to the panchayat boards, which are tasked with formulating plans and implementing schemes at the village level.

Lal Mohammad, 45, a worker of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), was killed in Islampur of Bengal’s North Dinajpur district, the police said on Saturday, as reports of trouble trickled in from different parts of the state over formation of panchayat boards.

Police said Mohammad was hit by a bomb as a clash broke out when members of Panditpota 1 gram panchayat were meeting to elect the president. The TMC had won 6 seats while the other five went to independents. Later, all independents joined the TMC but the local factions of the party fought for the pradhan’s post.

“We have detained six persons in connection with the clash”, Anoop Jaiswal, the police chief of North Dinajpur, said.

Attacking the TMC over the incident, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that it shows the situation in the state.

“In Islampur of North Dinajpur district, clashes erupted with bombs and pistols between two factions of TMC on Saturday morning over formation of the panchayat board. One person was killed and few were injured. But the police is inactive. Even Trinamool workers are not safe in Bengal,” tweeted the CPI (M) from its official handle.

Amal Acharya, TMC’s district president, said: “This factional feud won’t be tolerated. Both factions have to be accountable to the party for this.”

In the north Bengal district of Cooch Behar, a large police contingent had to be deployed on Friday in Pochagarh gram panchayat where a section of the TMC openly defied the diktats of the party and elected a different pradhan. “The other faction was not working properly. So we were compelled to defy the whip of the party,” said Atul Das, who became the pradhan in Pochagarh defeating the official TMC candidate, Durga Mishra.

In Araidanga panchayat of Malda district, Sumit Majhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, alleged that ruling party members set his house on fire on Friday night after he refused to join the TMC.

In the rural body, the BJP and TMC won seven seats each while the Congress won three. Majhi alleged that on Friday, the TMC formed the board with Congress support and set fire to his house.

In Sadaipur of Birbhum district, TMC worker Afsar Hossain was injured on Friday night when a bomb was hurled on him, allegedly by BJP men, when he was returning after a ‘victory rally’ following the Supreme Court verdict upholding the unopposed winners.

In Nanoor of Birbhum, one faction of the ruling party attacked another when they brought out a rally to celebrate the apex court order of Friday paving the way for ruling party candidates in more than 20,000 rural bodies winners without contest.

In some places, the ruling party had formed the board with their political adversaries, the BJP and the CPI (M). The TMC formed the board with the BJP at Radhikapur gram panchayat under Kaliachak of North Dinajpur and with the CPI (M) in Daspur II of West Midnapore district. There were several other panchayats were similar alliances were stuck by local TMC leaders.

However, in Habibpur block of Malda district, the CPI(M) and the BJP came together to keep the TMC out. At some other panchayats, the CPI(M), Congress and TMC joined hands to keep the BJP out.

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 18:25 IST