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Women, kids go hungry as men flee violence-hit villages

With all the men in the villages, who are mainly daily wage earners, fleeing to avoid arrest following the post-poll clashes, the sources of income have dried up.
Hindustan Times | By Sagarnil Mukherjee, Behrampore
UPDATED ON JUL 25, 2013 11:32 AM IST

For the last two days, Jarina Bibi, a resident of Hosnebad in Murshidabad’s Ranitala has not had anything to eat.

Neither have any of the women living in the area.

For, with all the men in the villages, who are mainly daily wage earners, fleeing to avoid arrest following the post-poll clashes, the sources of income have dried up.

In fact, the same situation prevails in several other villages of the district.

So far, the postpoll violence has claimed five lives and the number of injured has crossed 100.

After Tuesday’s clash in which two Congressmen were killed at Ranitala, the police are conducting continuous raids at Hosnebad, Balagachi, Natungram and Lakshminarayanpur villages to arrest the culprits.

The violence, too, has been incessant Tuesday night another clash erupted between Congress and CPM supporters at Hosnebad in which one Mohit Sheikh sustained serious bomb injuries.

He is now battling for life at Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital.

Recounting her ordeal, Jarina Bibi said, “There is no food in my house from Monday.

My husband is a daily labourer. He went to cast his vote on Monday but got involved in a political clash. Now, he is on the run to avoid arrest.”

She added that there was no other earning member in her family other than her husband, so she had gone without food for two days.

Sairabanu Bibi, another woman from Hosnebad village, had the same story to tell. She said, “With the male members gone, we are clueless about how to run our family. Our children are also battling hunger like us.”

Farjina Khatun, another woman, said, “We are practically living in hell. Criminals are moving about in our village and nearby areas with arms and bombs. Even our relatives are afraid to come here.”

Meanwhile, the violence continued on Wednesday with another clash erupting between the Congress and CPI(M) men in some places.

One Din Md. Sheikh, a TMC supporter, was found lying injured in a Rejinagar field while Khuku Sheikh, a Congress supporter, was injured at Domkal.

District Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “I blame the CPM for the clashes. They know they will not be able to retain the Murshidabad zilla parishad so they have unleashed a reign of terror in Murshidabad. The district police and the TMC are helping them.”

CPM district secretary Mriganka Bhattacharya, however, said, “I have no idea why people are killing each other. But I think the role of the police has not been partial. The administration should call an all-party meeting to discuss the situation.”

TMC district president Md Ali, on the other hand, blamed the political culture of the Left Front for the violence.

He said, “In 34 years, the LF has terrorised people and killed them to garner votes. I don’t think this culture will disappear overnight.”

He added that the violence was relatively low in TMC strongholds.

In areas where the ruling party was weak, opposition parties were killing each other to malign the government.

Murshidabad SP Humayun Kabir wasn’t ready to concede that he was facing problems curbing the violence owing to lack of forces.

He said, “Government funds are sometimes embezzled in rural bodies. Some people will do anything to get elected, even use criminals.”

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