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Trinamul duo and villager butchered

Trinamul duo and villager butchered

Author: Bureau
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: July 30, 2009
URL: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090730/jsp/bengal/story_11299789.jsp

Suspected CPM goons today hacked the heels of two Trinamul Congress supporters and speared a villager caught in the mayhem in a Burdwan hamlet slipping out of Left control.

The Trinamul duo died on the spot and the other man succumbed to injuries in hospital. Four others are being treated for fractured skulls and broken limbs.

Natungram, on the fringes of Burdwan town, is still in the CPM's grip but its Muslim population has been shifting loyalties since last year. About a third of the village's 150-odd families are Mamata Banerjee's supporters now.

When the villagers saw a group assemble on the outskirts of Natungram late last night, they apprehended an attack and called Burdwan police station. A cop told them: "Aamra dekhchhi (we are looking into it)."

But the first police team turned up in the village at 7.25am, about an hour and a half after the goons had left.

Villagers said they frantically called the police station, 10km away, when the marauders were butchering the Trinamul men, but the cops kept saying "aamra dekhchhi".

Sheikh Samsur Rahaman, 53, the headmaster of the local primary school, was the first target. He stepped out of his house to go to a student whom he gave private tuition around 5.30am and found himself surrounded.

Villagers said most of the attackers were from neighbouring hamlets. As Samsur fell to the blows from their sticks, one of them severed his Achilles tendons. Samsur tried to get up but could not.

Hearing his cries for help, party workers came out. Among them was Zafar Ali, 45, whose heels were also hacked. Sheikh Kutubuddin, 60, who was poked repeatedly with spears, died in hospital.

Trinamul leaders said Kutubuddin wasn't a party man but an ordinary villager.

When the outnumbered Trinamul supporters tried to run to safety, they were chased and thrashed.

Mollah Sujauddin, who lives close to Samsur's house, said: "I was too scared to step out. I watched in horror the CPM goons waving their swords and shouting 'this is what happens if one joins Trinamul'. I frantically called up the police and begged them to come quickly. But they didn't."

The attackers left after 30 minutes of mayhem.

Even after Burdwan inspector-in-charge Prasun Banerjee entered Natungram, his force allegedly stood around five men writhing in pain. They started moving after additional superintendent Humayun Kabir arrived with a larger force 20 minutes later.

"I am not aware of any villager alerting the police last night. As soon as I heard about the incident this morning, I asked the Burdwan inspector to rush there," said Kabir.

Trinamul MLA Partha Chatterjee said the police dragged their feet to "give the CPM army a free run".

The Opposition has been gnawing at the Left's base in its citadel Burdwan and the CPM has responded with violence. In Mangalkot, 60km away, they chased and stoned Congress MLAs on July 15.

Home secretary Ardhendu Sen said: "It's a bad situ- ation." He did not clarify his statement.

Samsur had been mobilising support for Mamata in his village. On Saturday, he organised a rally. On Monday, he took two busloads of people to Mamata's public meeting in Nanoor, Birbhum.

Burdwan CPM secretary Amal Haldar claimed there was no politics in today's incident. "It is a village feud."

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