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Kulipara residents caught in the crossfire

KOLKATA, 19 OCT, 2010: Political clashes have spilled over to the city by-lanes with trouble breaking out in Kulipara, just off Salt Lake, this morning.
One person was killed and four others, including an 11-year-old girl, critically injured in a clash between Trinamul Congress and CPI-M supporters.
Trouble broke out last night when CPI-M supporters allegedly stopped Trinamul Congress workers from participating in an immersion procession. An altercation broke out which took dreadful proportion later at night.
According to locals about 200 supporters of CPI-M allegedly raided various houses and shot at Trinamul supporters, including 47-year-old Balai Mondal, who succumbed to his injuries at NRS Medical College this morning.
Tension prevailed in the morning when a group of 20 supporters of Trinamul Congress retaliated. A gunfight ensued in which three CPI-M men were injured. A bullet shot at a nearby chawl, allegedly by CPI-M supporters, hit 11-year-old Sushmita Mondal who has been admitted to the NRS Medical College.
The ADG (law and order), Mr Surajit Kar Purakayastha, confirmed that five people were injured and one person succumbed to bullet injuries. He, however, said that two other injured persons, including the 11-year-old girl, were discharged after first aid.
In the afternoon, a large number of Trinamul Congress supporters, led by Mr Sabyasachi Dutta, vice-chairman of Bidhannagar Municipality, and Ms Krishna Chakraborty, CIC health, visited the area. They chased away some of the armed men roaming the area who were later seen jumping into the bheries to save themselves.
The Trinamul supporters threatened the families of CPI-M men and even ransacked some of the houses.
Police allegedly did not come to the locals’ rescue. Mr Haran Patra, a local, alleged that when they complained to officers at the local police camp last night, they were chased away and beaten up. Some women also said that the policemen who were in an inebriated state after the immersion last night, also beat them up. According to Mr Sabyasachi Dutta, who had called up the police camp last night, the cops said that they cannot take any action so late at night.
The Bidhannagar ASP, Mr Debabrata Das, said: “The condition was brought under control by the officers of the police camp and Bidhannagar South police station last night. The officers had been patrolling the area throughout the night and morning. Trouble ensued after the patrolling party left.” The allegation that the CPI-M men fired bullets in presence of the policemen will have to be investigated, he added.
Mrs Ila Nandi, councillor of Ward Number 17 where the clashes took place, said that the supporters of the Trinamul Congress brought 300-400 outsiders and attacked the CPI-M supporters stating that they will not be allowed to stay there.
Later, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Partha Chatterjee, Union minister of state for shipping, Mr Mukul Roy, and chairman of the Bidhannagar Municipality, Ms Anita Mondal, also visited the area. Mr Partha Chatterjee compared the situation in the area with Lalgarh and said that such atrocities by the CPI-M cannot be put up with. Reacting sharply to the incident Trinamul chief, Miss Mamata Banerjee, expressed her dismay at the Centre for its “inaction while Bengal is heading for a Constitutional crisis.” “Would the Centre have sat tight had Congress supporters been killed and attacked by CPI-M cadres in place of our supporters?” she asked. The Salt Lake incident, she alleged, was one more glaring example of the CPI-M’s orchestrated move to hunt down Trinamul activists.

Kulipara erupts once again

KOLKATA, 20 OCT: A day after clashes between Trinamul Congress and CPI-M supporters in Kulipara, violence erupted again in the area after several Trinamul supporters allegedly tried to wrest control of a bheri from CPI-M cadres.
At 3.00 p.m. Trinamul supporters allegedly raided Gorumara bheri between Kulipara and Choinabi. This led to a gunbattle between the rival parties. However, no injuries were reported.
Trinamul supporters had reportedly ransacked houses of CPI-M men who were allegedly involved in the violence and killing of Trinamul supporter Balai Mandal since yesterday afternoon. One of the houses ransacked belonged to Prafulla Mastan who allegedly controls the bheris and is a CPI-M supporter.
The SDPO, Bidhannagar, however, denied any firing took place in the area and said that the sound was heard from Bhangar. “We are not sure whether it was gunshot or fire-crackers. The area doesn’t fall under Bidhannagar. We were standing there to catch troublemakers. People are unnecessarily spreading rumour,” he added.
Mr Sabyasachi Dutta, vice-chairman, Bidhannagar Municipality, said firing continued even today in the presence of the police who are “hand in glove with CPI-M goons”.
The Trinamul Congress today observed a Black Day in Bidhannager and organised a protest march from Choinabi to Kulipara at 11 am. Trinamul supporters were led by Trinamul Congress MPs Mrs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Mr Suvendu Adhikari and Union minister of state for shipping, Mr Mukul Roy, who wore black badges to protest the violence perpetrated allegedly by the CPI-M. The body of Balai Mondal who was shot dead yesterday was handed over to his relatives this afternoon.
Balaram Das, Notto Mondal and Sajal Mondol who were arrested last night for their involvement in the incident would be produced in court today.
Mr Shyamal Chakraborty, CPI-M state secretariat member, blamed the Trinamul Congress for the violence which, he alleged, was part of the Trinamul tactic to “establish area domination” before the crucial 2011 Assembly polls. The people had spontaneously resisted the attempt, he added.

CPM leaders visit trouble-torn Kulipara

KOLKATA, 21 OCT: After two days of unrest in Kulipara off Salt Lake, senior leaders of the CPI-M and the local councillor visited the family of Balai Mondal, who was killed in the clashes, today.
Interestingly, the wife of Balai Mondal, Mrs Basanti Mondal, today revealed that Balai Mandol, whom Trinamul Congress had been claiming as its supporter, was actually a staunch CPI-M supporter who had not been on talking terms with his sons as they had joined Trinamul Congress recently. The Union minister of state for shipping, Mr Mukul Roy, has offered Mrs Basanti Mondal a job at the Bidhannagar Municipality.
The state transport minister, Mr Ranjit Kundu, along with senior CPI-M leaders, including Mr Amitava Nandi, Mr Rabin Mondal, Mrs Ramola Chakraborty, Mr Tushar Ghosh and local CPI-M councillor Mrs Ila Nandi visited the family of the deceased who had initially refused to meet them but later narrated how the violence was unleashed on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
“We want Praful, Ranjan and Madan to be arrested. They have been unheeding even the CPI-M leaders and killing innocent people,” said Mr Kenaram Mondal, Balai Mondal’s brother. The leaders also visited the houses of CPI-M supporters which were ransacked on Tuesday. Mr Ranjit Kundu assured the locals that peace will be restored in the area and the guilty would be arrested. “If Balai Mondal’s wife gets a job, we will be happy. But, promises of railway jobs by the railway minister have remained unfulfilled,” he said. The CPI-M has called for a rally in Hatgacha on 24 October. The meet would be attended by Mr Abdur Rezzak Mollah, the CPM MLA from Canning (East) and Mr Ranjit Kindu. Mrs Ila Nandi said: “The way houses of CPI-M supporters were ransacked under the leadership of Mr Sabyasachi Dutta, the vice-chairman of Bidhannagr Municipality, it poses great threat to democracy.” Meanwhile, a body was fished out of a bheri in Bantala last night which the CPI-M claimed was its supporter.

Dollhouse
The people in the wetland area just off the shining Sector V has been spending sleepless nights amidst gunshots. The clashes that had begun from Durgapuja immersion spilled on to Lakhsmi Puja. Police and journalists made a beeline for the sundry village whose name had seldom been heard before.
Divided on the party lines, elders of the locality measured each word before it tumbled out of their lips.
Three days had passed after a man was killed, an unclaimed body was found in the area, women cried of harassment and politicians rolled out sops. Journalists waited to dig their exclusive. Tired after daylong interviews of residents of the area, a colleague drifted away for a fag.
he noticed two girls, hardly 4-5 year old, digging mud from a mould with a mollusc shell. Trying to forget political jargon for a while, the colleague started chatting with them. The girls welcomed his company after he helped them wipe their running noses and dug a bit of mud effectively. After revealing their plan to build a dollhouse with the clay, they told her the number of coloured pencils they have kept hidden from their brothers. One of them complained that her mother has brought a new school bag for her brother while she has to carry all her books in a plastic bag.
Together they chased a florescent butterfly. And then, the bullets rattled again making their mother pull them inside their house.

Art glitteratti visits Kulipara

KOLKATA, 27 OCT: The members of civil society, Mr Asokendu Sengupta and Mr Sujato Bhadra, today visited the house of Balai Mondal who was killed on 19 October clashes in Kulipara. They went to the house along with the Trinamul Congress supporters and Mrs Mithu Chowdhury, the Trinamul candidate from the area who lost in the last civic election, to the victim’s house and talked to Balai Mondal’s family members at 3.15 p.m.
They asked for the copy of the FIR lodged with police. Mrs Basanti Mondal, the deceased’s wife, told them that police have not yet recorded her statement.
Balai’s son said that the brother of the accused person, Praful Mondal, Bhopa Mondal, is still roaming free in the village and had been telling them, “Baap ke niyechi, chhele ke o nebo (have killed the father, will kill the son now)”. The relatives of Balai Mondal said that they lost their nights sleep after the incident and the CPI-M supporters have allegedly been terrorising them.
Mr Asokendu Sengupta said that what happened in Kulipara is an example of political terrorism. People of the village have left home because of the terror unleashed by the ruling party. “The ruling party’s aim has been to eliminate those who have voted against them. The statements of the eyewitnesses have been ignored. Those who support the winds of change are being threatened,” he added. He said that the ruling party has been protecting the guilty and police have failed to take any action.
Mr Asokendu Sengupta and Mr Sujato Bhadra went to meet the police camp in-charge who said that peace has been restored in the village and that no incident of violence or intimidation has been reported in the last few days.
Mr Bhadra said: “Political leaders are mocking democracy by forming combat groups in the state. There are no values left in politics because of which innocent people have to suffer. Their terrorism would get a befitting reply through the ballot box.” It should be noted that the Bidhannagar SDO had yesterday prohibited any form of political meeting in Salt Lake for the next 15 days.
Meanwhile, the ward no 19 committee members, local councillor Mrs Kalpana Mukherjee and councillor of ward no 17, Mrs Ila Nandi, took out a protest march near Sukanta Nagar at 4.30 pm today. They were protesting against the violence that broke out on Monday between two lobbies of construction workers.

Kulipara clash victims to be compensated

KOLKATA, 26 OCT: The victims of clashes in Kulipara will be compensated by the state government, said the Bidhannagar SDO, Mr Ashok Das, after the all-party peace meet held at Mayukh Bhavan in Salt Lake today.
The leaders of Trinamul Congress had, however, kept away from the meeting stating that until the accused are arrested, they will not participate in any talks with the administration.
Two people ~ Balai Mondal and Deepak Mondal ~ were killed during the clashes in Kulipara that broke out after the Trinamul supporters were allegedly stopped from participating in the immersion of a Durga idol. While Balai Mandol was killed on 19 October, Deepak Mondal’s body was fished out of a bheri near Bhangar. During the agitation, 17 houses of CPI-M supporters were vandalised and one of them was set on fire.
The SDO said that officials will soon visit the area to assess the damage and fix compensation to be provided to the victims. He also said that for the next 15 days no political meeting, rally or gathering will be allowed in the area. On 29 October, five leaders from each party will take part in a peace walk in Salt Lake.
It should be noted that the Union minister of state for shipping, Mr Mukul Roy, had earlier said that the wife of Balai Mondal would be given a job at the Bidhannagar Municipality.
Mr Sabyasachi Dutta, vice-chairman of the Bidhannagar Municipality, reiterated today that the police are sheltering the accused ~ Praful Mondal and Dom Mondal. He said: “The SDO held a one-party meet today. The BJP and Congress have no stand of their own and the administration is favouring CPI-M.” On the order barring political meets, Mr Dutta said that no law is above the people and if needed, the party will certainly stand for those who are being victimised. Referring to police camp running on hooked electricity, Mr Dutta said: “Police are is engaged in unlawful activities. Expecting any solution from them is impractical.”

Soma Basu

Soma Basu

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