West Bengal Animal Resources Minister Nure Alam Chowdhury was assaulted and kept confined by a mob for over eight hours at a college here Sunday in Birbhum district over a disputed land.
Chowdhury,a former High Court judge,was injured but could not be taken to hospital as he had been held up in a room of the college since 11.30 am and a mob laid siege to the college,Superintendent of Police C Sudhakar said.
The minister,who is MLA from Murarai in the district,was released at 8 pm after a prolonged negotiation meeting attended by the district administration,authorities of the college and the mosque.
Additional District Magistrate Bidhan Roy,who was in the negotiation meeting said,It has been decided to hold a meeting in Suri on September 8 to sort out the problem.
Chowdhury was brought to Suri circuit house after his release.
The dispute arose a couple of years back when a mosque allegedly encroached into a land,owned by a trust headed by Chowdhury at Dokhalbati village on the outskirts of Rampurhat where the Asleha Girls College is situated. The college is named after Asleha Beghum,mother of the minister.
The college authorities circulated leaflets in the morning,saying a meeting would be held in the college campus on Tuesday to prevent anti-social activities occurring in the premises.
After the minister arrived to attend a meeting of the college,a large mob attacked him and beat him up. It was being alleged that the mob gathered there after an announcement through public address system that the minister had come to demolish the mosque.
A huge police force had reached the spot to rescue the minister but did not take any action,a college official said. Police sources said no action was taken to avoid a major law and order problem.
A medical van sent from Rampurhat hospital for treatment of the minister was also not allowed to enter the college premises,the SP said. However,the ADM later said Chowdhury was treated at the spot in the presence of the senior officers of the district administration.
The minister is stable but tired of the day-long tension, he said.
To queries from media at Suri,Chowdhury requested to spare him today as he was very tired after the day-long ordeal.
The mob also ransacked the college building and set on fire furniture and computers.
A car parked in front of the college was also damaged.
The NH-60 which passes by the college was blocked since 3 pm with hundreds of vehicles,including North Bengal bound long-distance buses,being stranded. The vehicles had to wait for several hours before allowed to move.