Fresh violence erupts in Bengal, seven held

November 24th, 2010 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 24 (IANS) At least seven activists of the Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) were arrested in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district for their alleged involvement in clashes that continued in the area Wednesday, police said.

“A clash broke out between supporters of the Trinamool and CPI-M at Kamarda area near Khejuri of the district on the issue of area domination. Supporters of both the parties hurled bombs and bricks at each other and road blockades were put up at several villages in Khejuri,” East Midnapore Police Superintendent Ashok Biswas said.

Later during Wednesday, the violence spread to several other parts of Khejuri with party workers firing at each other, triggering panic in the area. However, no injury was reported, said the district police chief.

“Seven people have been arrested and two firearms recovered so far. Police picket has been put up in the area. Two officers of the additional superintendent of police rank have been deployed in the area to monitor the situation,” Biswas told IANS over phone.

According to locals, a group of CPI-M supporters assembled near Kamarda Wednesday morning to open their party office, which was forcibly closed by the Trinamool Congress supporters after their leader Subhendhu Adhikari won the Lok Sabha election in June 2009.

The Trinamool supporters, who were present in their party office, which was erected adjacent to the CPI-M party office last year, attacked the CPI-M supporters and subsequently a clash broke out.

The violence spread further in different parts of Khejuri, as supporters of both the parties fought with each other. Several houses were either gutted or ransacked in the violence. However, both parties blamed the other for fomenting violence in the area.

“The CPI-M leadership is bringing hooligans and firearms in Khejuri and Nandigram from outside to destroy the peace prevailing in the area,” said Trinamool MP Subhendhu Adhakari.

“A Trinamool delegation lead by state Leader of Opposition and Trinamool legislator Partha Chatterjee will visit the area,” he said.

The CPI-M district leadership denied the charges. “After coming to power in the 2008 panchayat polls, the Trinamool supporters have captured the villages and very often attack our men,” said a senior CPI-M leader.

Khejuri, once the stronghold of the CPI-M, saw the opposition Trinamool Congress capture the political turf in 2008. Many offices of the CPI-M were closed down and several of their workers were forced to leave home.

With the assembly elections scheduled for next year, the CPI-M was now trying to recapture lost ground and open its party offices, and ensure its workers could return home.

Political clashes and turf battles are common in the rural and semi-urban belts of politically surcharged West Bengal and on many occasions the dominant party drives out its rivals to ensure its writ runs unchallenged in the area.

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