Trinamool activists torch CPI-M office in Khejuri

June 13th, 2009 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 13 (IANS) Violence continued in Khejuri in West Bengal Saturday as opposition Trinamool Congress activists set afire a party office of the state’s ruling communists and started a ’social boycott’ of police to protest fellow partymen’s arrests.
However, a possible stand-off between the police and Trinamool workers was averted Saturday morning as the party called off its 37-hour blockade of the Khejuri police station and a road in the East Midnapore district locality.

The Trinamool and the state administration seemed headed for a violent confrontation Friday with the state home secretary threatening to use force to lift the siege of the police station and a road and Trinamool MP Subhendu Adhikari daring him to do so.

The Trinamool, which blockaded the police station protesting the arrest of 14 of its members on the charge of rioting, announced a social boycott of the policemen after these workers were taken to a court Saturday.

Only one of those arrested got bail, while the others were remanded to police custody by a East Midnapore district court judge.

As the verdict of the district court reached Khejuri, angry Trinamool workers torched the Janka party office of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

“The office had been partly damaged by arsonists two days back prompting the police to nab the 14 workers,” said East Mindapore superintendent of police Pallab Kanti Ghosh.

The Trinamool had prevented the police from presenting these workers to court Friday by organising the blockade.

“There is still tension in the area. There is a large police presence,” Ghosh told IANS over phone.

Meanwhile, the district administration has convened a meeting of local leaders of various parties and police and administrative officials to find ways to restore peace.

Fresh violence erupted recently in Khejuri, a block neighbouring the erstwhile violent zone of Nandigram, as several offices of the ruling Left Front major CPI-M were torched and homes of a number of its leaders there ransacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters.

Khejuri, about 160 km from here, was traditionally known as a CPI-M stronghold.

The Trinamool Congress had called for a 12-hour shutdown Tuesday after the arrest of some CPI-M activists for allegedly storing weapons. Many houses and CPI-M offices were ransacked and set ablaze by irate villagers that day.

Five state ministers, on their way to Khejuri, were also stopped by Trinamool supporters and not allowed to set foot in the area.

Meanwhile, Adhikari - the MP from Tamluk which includes Nandigram -supported the boycott of the police.

“People are angry. The police have behaved in a partisan manner. They did not arrest any prominent CPI-M leader after weapons were seized from their houses. But the police put our innocent supporters behind bars under non-bailable sections,” he said.

“The police won’t get a school building to set up camps. They won’t get food or water. Shopkeepers won’t sell any items to them,” he added.

Khejuri comes under the Contai Lok Sabha constituency from where Adhikari’s father and central minister Sisir Adhikari won on a Trinamool ticket last month.

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