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West Bengal panchayat polls: One killed in clash between BJP, TMC workers in Birbhum

The BJP claimed that the deceased Sheikh Dildar was a state BJP minority morcha general secretary who was shot dead by TMC workers. TMC, however, claimed that Dildar was their supporter who was killed at the hands of outsiders from Jharkhand.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: April 24, 2018 2:20:18 am
At Suri in Birbhum district on Monday. (Express Photo)

One person was killed and several others were injured as TMC and BJP workers clashed in Birbhum district’s Suri on Monday, the extended date for filing nominations for the upcoming West Bengal panchayat polls.

The Birbhum district police have confirmed the death, and identified the victim as Sheikh Dildar, 25.

Later in the day, both the ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP held press conferences identifying the deceased and claiming he was their worker. Each party accused the other of being responsible for the death. The victim’s father initially said that his son was a BJP worker, but later in the day, at a Trinamool press conference, he said his son belonged to the TMC.

According to a senior police officer, a clash broke out between TMC and BJP workers outside the office of a Block Development Officer (BDO) in Suri between 11 am and 12 pm on Monday. Both sides hurled bombs at each other and bullets were fired. “The victim was shot at during a clash,” said a senior police officer.

At a press conference, BJP leader and former party MLA Samik Bhattacharya said, “Sheikh Dildar was one of the general secretaries of the state BJP minority morcha.”

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party would move Calcutta HC against Monday’s violence. “If such a situation continues, then President’s rule will have to be imposed,” he said.

Rubbishing BJP’s claims, TMC’s Birbhum district president Anubarata Mondal said, “I have been informed that he was our party worker. BJP brought outsiders from Jharkhand to create trouble, who killed our worker.”

Filing of nominations was marred by violence in Murarai, Rampurhat and Dubrajpur of Birbhum district. In Hooghly’s Chanditala, BJP candidates were allegedly beaten up by TMC workers outside a BDO office. In Baruipur of South 24 Parganas district, TMC activists allegedly threw stones and bricks at BJP candidates.

Two reporters belonging to vernacular news organisations were heckled and held hostage, allegedly by TMC workers, for several hours in Kolkata.

Other Opposition parties also slammed TMC for allegedly attacking their candidates to prevent them from filing nominations. The CPM called for resistance against such attacks, while the Congress called the situation “dangerous”.

Denying the allegations, the TMC said that it was a pre-planned strategy to put all the blame on the TMC whenever any incident of violence took place.

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