A 40-year-old panchayat pradhan affiliated with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was killed after crude bombs were hurled at him by some assailants in a market in Barasat sub-division of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district late Thursday evening, police said.
This is the second incident of the killing of a member of the state’s ruling party in just three days.
On the complaint of the family of Rupchanda Mondal, who was pradhan of the Amdanga panchayat, the police have arrested a suspect, Anwar Hossain Mondal, from the Khurigachi area in the district for his alleged involvement in the murder.
The incident took place around 7 pm when Roopchand was in the Kamdevpur market. An injured Roopchand was rushed to a local health facility and then taken to a nursing home in Barasat where he was declared brought dead.
Soon after the incident, irate locals along with Trinamool workers and supporters blocked the National Highway-12, as a result of which vehicles going to north Bengal districts were stuck for nearly an hour. To prevent an untoward situation, a large police contingent headed by the Barasat Superintendent of Police reached the spot.
Some local residents claimed that there was a long-running dispute between the Amdanga and neighbouring Bodai panchayat over the control of the Kamdevpur market and Rupchand’s killing could possibly be an outcome of the TMC’s factional feud.
Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, who visited Amdanga, blamed the police for a deteriorating law and order situation in the area. “Crude bombs manufacturing has become a big problem. People have made it a business and these are easily available at cheap rates. Let the police investigate who are behind this incident,” said Singh, who joined the TMC by switching side from the BJP last year.
Earlier this week, a TMC panchayat member, Saifuddin Laskar, was shot dead in the Joynagar area of South 24 Parganas district.
BJP leader Dilip Ghosh also claimed that conflict between two factions of the ruling TMC resulted in the murder.
Amdanga Trinamool MLA Rafiqar Rahman, however, denied the allegations of internal conflict in the party’s area unit.
TMC spokesperson Joyprakash Majumdar told reporters that the BJP and the CPI(M) have been unleashing a reign of terror in the rural belt of West Bengal in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls next year.
“They are targeting our popular leaders with the sole objective to lessen the strength of TMC ahead of the polls. The opposition gameplan will not succeed,” he said.
—With PTI inputs