CPI(M), Congress and Maoists behind Birbhum clash: Minister

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Kolkata, Nov 8: A West Bengal minister on Thursday alleged that members of CPI(M) and Congress, besides Maoist cadres, were behind the Nov 6 violence in Loba village of Birbhum district that left 27 policemen and 6 villagers injured.

"CPI(M), Left extremists and a section of the Congress are behind the trouble," Commerce and Industry minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters at the state secretariat. Chatterjee also dismissed media reports that he had instructed the police to open fire during the clash. "No order was issued from my department and the police did not open fire," he said.

Leader of the Opposition Surjyakanta Mishra had earlier alleged that the police had opened fire. Echoing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's stand that the villagers were not involved in the clash, Chatterjee, however, asked how the "bows and arrows came at the spot" remain intact.

"Investigation is in progress and the facts will come out," the minister said. On Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee's statement that if Congress workers were involved, why were the police not arresting them? Chatterjee said, "I did not win the Assembly elections by only 2,500 votes but by 60,000 votes."

He was referring to Mukherjee, the son of President Pranab Mukherjee scraping through the recent Jangipur Lok Sabha byelection by only 2,500 votes. The West Bengal government has ordered an administrative inquiry into the clash.

PTI

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