‘Tide has changed, vote TMC if you want to live, they told us’https://indianexpress.com/article/elections-2016/india/politics/west-bengal-tmc-cpm-bardhaman-politics-2766312/

‘Tide has changed, vote TMC if you want to live, they told us’

'My family was threatened because we were involved in Left politics from the beginning.'

West Bengal TMC, Left, TMC West Bengal, Bardhaman, Lodhna, Bardhaman TMC, Bardhaman CPM, CPM. CPM Bardhaman, India news, West Bengal news
Polling agent Sheikh Fazal Haque’s wife Hina Bibi at their home in Lodhna village of Bardhaman district on Friday. (Express Photo by Subham Dutta)

Lodhna village in Bardhaman district was colloquially known as Lal Durga (red fortress). It was only after the 2011 Assembly polls that the CPM’s hold over the district started loosening.

The relatives of the two deceased men — Sheikh Fazal Haque (56) and Dukhi Ram Dal (56) were killed allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters hours after the third phase of polling had ended in the village — claimed on Friday that both families had suffered a series of attacks in the days before the elections.

“About two weeks ago, I was attacked by local Trinamool workers. They were on motorcycles… they surrounded me when I was walking back home. After beating me up, they told me to stop supporting the Left. They said the tide had changed and if I wanted to live, I would have to vote for Trinamool,” Haque’s son Sajal Haque told The Indian Express over the phone from Bardhaman hospital.

His sister, Amita Begum, echoed him. Claiming that the police had been informed about the constant threats to the family, she said her father, “a loyal CPM worker and respected village leader”, was key in influencing voters in the area. “My family was threatened because we were involved in Left politics from the beginning. People here trust us… That’s why they had attacked us earlier and killed my father last night. The police have been ignoring our complaints,” she added.

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Dal’s son Bijoy Dal, also a CPM worker, said Metepara — the section of the village that is still “with the Left” — was subjected to such threats and violence since 2011, but “it became worse a few months ago when CPM’s sitting MLA Nabin Chandra Bag joined Trinamool in 2015”.

West Bengal TMC, Left, TMC West Bengal, Bardhaman, Lodhna, Bardhaman TMC, Bardhaman CPM, CPM. CPM Bardhaman, India news, West Bengal news
Dukhi Ram Dal’s wife Mamata at their home in Lodhna on Friday. (Express Photo by Subham Dutta)

“Following this, local CPM workers got divided… some of them joined Trinamool. Since 2011, we haven’t been able to retaliate… haven’t even been able to slap a Trinamool worker on the face. But after the switch happened, we were outnumbered and have been fearing for our lives since then,” he said.

He claimed he was attacked in March by a number of “Trinamool goons”, who pinned him to the ground while repeatedly striking him. “They didn’t let me go until they were sure that I was seriously injured. I had a broken rib and the doctors later said that I had a spine injury as well,” he said.

Trinamool block president Alok Majhi, who is also the party candidate for Galsi seat in the district, denied the charges.

When contacted, Deputy Superintendent D Bhattacharya said: “We are looking into all the allegations. Right now, we have detained four people and are carrying out further investigation.”

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