Eight Congress legislators attacked in West Bengal

Kolkata, July 15 (Inditop.com) Eight Congress legislators of West Bengal were injured Wednesday when they were attacked allegedly by armed Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) cadres in a village, according to a senior Congress leader.

A 14-member Congress delegation led by Congress legislature party leader Manas Bhuniya had entered Dhanyarukhi village in Burdwan district around 3.10 p.m. for distributing relief to party supporters whose houses have been burnt after the murder of CPI-M district committee member Falguni Mukherjee.

“As we were entering the village, we were attacked. All eight MLAs were injured, three of them were profusely bleeding. I was also hit by a brick,” Bhuniya told IANS.

“Seven scribes who had come to cover our visit were also hit by bricks and badly beaten ups,” he said. Five of the scribes had to be rushed to hospital.

State Inspector General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said: “One Congress MLA, Rabindranath Chatterjee, has been hospitalised with head injuries. This apart, four policemen, of whom one is critical, also sustained injury in the violent attack.”

Asked about the Congress claim that eight legislatures were injured in the attack, Kanojia said: “I can only give you figures of those who are admitted in hospital.”

Giving the administration’s version of the incident, he said when the Congress delegation was going to the village they came under heavy brick-batting from a mob “predominantly comprising women”.

“We have already filed a case and are conducting raids in the area,” he said.

According to sources, armed CPI-M cadres put two bullock carts on the road to stop the Congress team from entering the village. When the team ignored the obstacle and proceeded further, suddenly the CPI-M activists started pelting stones at them.

Bhuniya fell on the ground and state Congress committee member Nargis Begum was beaten up, according to the party.

Television footage showed Bhuniya and other Congress leaders running for their lives through paddy fields.

Bhuniya said the attack was so ferocious that he called up Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and told him to do something “as we may be murdered”.

“We’ve already informed Union Finance Minister and state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has also been briefed.”

State Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty termed the incident as “serious” and “unfortunate”.

Irate Congress workers later blocked roads in several districts and called 12-hour shutdowns in Murshidabad district and Katwa sub-division in Burdwan.

“We’ve convened a meeting of out party’s core committee Saturday to decide whether we will go for a total shutdown in the state in protest of this brutal attack by the CPI-M hooligans,” state Congress working president Subrata Mukherjee said.

CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose said: “We strongly condemn the incident. It is improper to obstruct political leaders and workers. Whatever has happened should not have happened.

“CPI-M is in no way involved. But if the involvement of anyone associated with the party is proved, our district committee will take punitive action. But the police, if they were present, should have intervened,” Bose said.

However, the party’s Burdwan district committee secretary Amal Haldar said villagers of Dhanyarukhi were behind the incident as they were enraged on seeing the two of the accused in CPI-M leader Falguni Mukherjee’s killing alongside the Congress leaders.

The area has seen trouble since Mukherjee was shot dead from point blank range by miscreants June 16.

The CPI-M alleged the attackers had links with the Trinamool Congress, but the opposition party has maintained that the killing was a result of a factional feud in the ruling party.

After the murder, several opposition leaders including Leader of Opposition in the assembly Partha Chattopadhyay have faced the wrath of CPI-M cadres whenever they tried to go to the area.

A large number of political clashes have occurred in the state ever since the Lok Sabha elections.