Enraged by the early morning murder of a local Trinamool Congress leader, party supporters today lynched one assailant and burned down at least 15 houses in his village, while blocking roads to prevent police and fire brigade personnel from reaching the spot.
The incident happened in Bamangachi village of Joynagar police station area of South 24-Parganas, about 60 km south of Kolkata. Saifuddin Lashkar (43) was the Trinamool regional president and his wife the head of the Bamangachi gram panchayat.
According to police sources, the Trinamool leader was going to pray in the mosque around 5 am on Monday when five assailants on two motorcycles accosted him and pumped bullets into him. One bullet hit him in the shoulder. Saifuddin collapsed on the road.
Local residents rushed to the spot after hearing the gunshots. They took Saifuddin to Padmerhat Rural Hospital in Joynagar 1 Block. He was declared dead there.
Superintendent of Police Palash Chandra Dhali of Baruipur area said that one person had been arrested in this incident and was being interrogated. The death of Saifuddin cast a shadow of mourning in the Bamangachi area. Trinamool sources claim that he was quite popular in the area. Bivas Sardar, Trinamool MLA of Baruipur East Legislative Assembly, rushed to the hospital on hearing the news of his death. He blamed political conspiracy behind this incident.
Sardar said: “We did not think that Saifuddin would be killed in this way while he was going to the mosque for morning prayers. He was popular in the area and always worked with the people. He did a lot of work for poor people. I don’t know that he has any enemies. I don’t know who did this. Those who did, should be severely punished.”
The MLA also said: “Those who have become bankrupt in politics have now targeted the Trinamool leaders. It needs to be remedied. There is definitely politics involved in this incident. It is a political conspiracy. The Opposition has no presence in that area. They are trying to seize power.”
Ilyas Lashkar, the father of the deceased, pointed the finger at the CPM. He said: “No one has any enmity with my son. The opposition CPIM criminals have killed my son.”
The killings set off a chain of accusations and counter-accusations among political parties.
Sujan Chakraborty of the CPIM said: “The CPIM doesn’t have any presence in the panchayat. How can CPIM carry out such action? What would the party gain?”
Trinamool Congress MP and spokesperson Santanu Sen, brushed off the violence, saying that “it is a reaction by local people who are enraged by the murder of their beloved leader.”
BJP’s former state president Dilip Ghosh said: “Such actions are normal in Trinamool-ruled Bengal. Last year, 10 people were burnt to death in Bogtui after the murder of Bhadu Sheikh by his own Trinamool partymen. This is because all criminals have become Trinamool members and are fighting among themselves and killing each other.”