Two senior CPM leaders were hacked to death by a group of armed men at Deoandighi Mirzapur in Burdwan today. Four Trinamool supporters have been arrested,police said.
Pradip Tah,a 55-year old former CPM MLA of Burdwan (North) constituency,and 68-year-old Kamal Gayen,CPMs Burdwan district committee member,were reportedly assaulted with spears,rods and lathis and defaced beyond recognition.
Top police officials said the assailants were Trinamool Congress supporters,while Trinamool leaders including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said the incident was an outcome of public outrage and internal squabbles of the CPM.
Tah and Gayen had taken out a rally in support of the nationwide strike called by several central trade unions on February 28. Around 10.30 am,a group of armed men – allegedly Trinamool workers and supporters – attacked and chased them. Tah fled to his house,the police said.
After the area calmed down,Tah reportedly came out of his house,when he was attacked with tangis (spears),rods and lathis. His face was smashed with boulders. The men then attacked Gayen,who tried to save Tah. S A M Mirza,Burdwan SP,said Tah was rushed to Burdwan Medical College,where he was declared brought dead. Gayen succumbed to his injuries on the way to a Kolkata hospital. We are investigating. We have arrested four persons today and they are being interrogated, said Mirza.
Those arrested – Surojeet Tah,Patitpaban Tah,Choton Chakraborty and Bhupal Goswami – are all known to be active Trinamool workers in the area.
The bodies were being taken to Kolkata tonight. They will be taken out during a CPM rally tomorrow. A 12-hour bandh has been called in Burdwan district. Sporadic demonstrations were also seen in Kolkata on Wednesday evening.
According to police sources,there was tension in the area yesterday after the CPM put up banners in support of the trade strike. Trinamool supporters allegedly tore off the flags and banners,which triggered a clash late last night.
It was cold-blooded murder by the Trinamool Congress,which is now isolated from the masses, said CPM leader and leader of Opposition Surya Kanta Misra.
Amol Haldar,CPMs Burdwan district committee secretary,said,The face of Pradip Tah is completely mutilated. He cannot be identified. He was brutally tortured on his face with sharp weapons before he died. Several of our party workers are critically injured and in hospital.
Firhad Hakim,state minister and spokesperson of the state government,said,People do not want strikes. Strikes stall development of the state. So people spontaneously resisted the rally. But Trinamool does not have any connection with the killings. It was a result of mob fury.
However,a senior Trinamool leader from Burdwan confirmed that Trinamool workers were involved and that the arrested men belonged to that party.