A local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader was shot dead on Sunday morning in Bhangar area of South 24 Parganas district. While local party workers suspect the hand of “Maoist land agitators” behind the murder, others claim it was a result of “infighting” in the TMC. Police were tight-lipped over the incident with PTI quoting SP (Baruipur) Arijit Sinha as saying: “We are investigating the matter.” Asitur Rahman (30) alias Babusona, who was office bearer of Bhangar II panchayat samiti, was returning from the residence of another party leader Bhangara II panchayat samiti chief Arabul Islam when he was shot.
Bhangar has seen violence and constant protests against a power project in the area. Some claim that land was grabbed for the project and that it would pose danger to environment and health. In January, two people were killed in alleged police firing during protests against the government at Kolkata.
Local TMC leaders alleged Rahman was shot by activists of the Jami, Jibika, Bastutantra O Paribesh O Raksha Committee (committee to protect land, livelihood, ecosystem and environment), which had been leading the protests in Bhangar.
Floated by the Maoist outfit CPI-ML (Red Star), the committee is supported by CPM-led Left Front, CPI-ML (Liberation), Majdoor Kranti Parishad and Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR).
“Those who are protesting against the project in name of land agitation are spreading violence. Yesterday, a panchayat office was vandalised by them. Today, Rahman had gone to meet Arabul Islam at his residence,” said local TMC leader Kaiser Ahmed.
However, the committee denied the allegations and said Rahman’s killing was a result of TMC infighting.
“For last few days, attempts were being made by associates of TMC leaders Arabul Islam and Kaiser Ahmed to disrupt our rally. Today, factional feuds broke out between two rival groups of TMC in Bhangar- one lead by Arabul Islam and the other by Kaizar Ahmed. This led to the killing,” said convener of the committee, Mirza Hasan, in a press statement.