Bhangar (West Bengal), Jan 8: A fierce clash broke out between the supporters of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and CPI(M) on Basanti highway near Bamanghata Bazar, near an IT major and 12 km from one of the busy centres of the state capital.
The violence was triggered on Tuesday morning after a CPI(M) rally, which was heading to Kolkata, was allegedly attacked by TMC supporters in the trouble-torn Bhangar area. Eleven vehicles were burnt and at least five CPI(M) activists were seriously injured in the clash. One of them had sustained a bullet injury in the chest.
A local person suffered head injuries. A delegation of the Left Front met Governor MK Narayanan in the evening to register their protest against the ruling party. Leader of the opposition in the assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra said Narayanan condemned the incident and assured to look into it.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been keeping unwell, rushed to the state secretariat to take stock of the situation.
The CPI(M) supporters were heading to a proposed gherao programme at the South 24-Parganas administrative headquarters in Kolkata to protest against the recent attack on Bhangar MLA and former state minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah. The attack, in which Mollah was seriously injured and was hospitalised, was allegedly carried out by TMC strongmen Arabul Islam and his supporters. A few TMC leaders had backed Islam, saying Mollah was creating a drama in the hospital. Islam, who was accused of assaulting Mollah himself, was admitted to a private nursing home claiming to be seriously injured. Doctors, however, said he had no external injury and had a normal blood pressure.
Several motorcycles parked in front of the TMC office at Bamanghata Bazaar were ransacked while Islam's own SUV was also among the 11 damaged vehicles, most of which were mini-trucks carrying the CPI(M) supporters. TMC posters and flags were also torn while local shop-owners downed their shutters.
Both parties were blaming each other for the assault. However, no matter whoever was the aggressor, political observers feel that the state's politics will witness a violent phase in the run-up to the rural polls due in a few months time. If indeed turns out to be true, it will be a repetition of the 2008 when the then Left Front government was fast losing its grip on the state and the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC was making serious inroads in the wake of the Singur agitation and Nandigram violence.