Congress, CPI (M) workers clash in West Bengal

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Bardhaman (West Bengal), Sep. 29 (ANI): Several workers of Congress party have claimed to have been beaten up and their houses set afire allegedly by activists of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Katwa region of West Bengal's Bardhaman District.

Dozens of hutments and houses were gutted in the fire and several people sustained critical injuries during the politically charged clash on Tuesday.

The incident happened after police forces, deployed in the locality due to heightened fears of inter-party clashes, were withdrawn earlier in the day by regional authorities.

These clashes were an act of retaliation by CPM to target activists who quit their party and reached out to the Congress, said local elders.

"Some of the villagers previously worked as activists of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM). However, some time back, they quit the CPM and joined the regional unit of the Congress party. Since then, there has been tension in the village, as CPM goons often come and threaten the locals," said Rabindranath Chatterjee, local Congress MLA of Katwa near Bardhaman.

"Units of police had been deployed here to prevent any eventuality, but they were withdrawn today. As soon as they left, CPM activists came and burnt the houses of those people who had quit their party. They even looted the houses and beat up their families," he added.

Local residents also said that the CPM workers had looted valuables from the homes of Congress activists before setting them on fire.

The injured, meanwhile, were taken to the regional hospital for treatment. By Rick Sundar (ANI)

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