KOLKATA: Wazul Khan, secretary of the minority cell of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Nazirganj area of Bengal’s Howrah district was shot dead near his home on Monday night, police said.
Khan, who was popular in the area according to local people, was sitting outside his home when some people shot him from very close range, a district police officer said on condition of anonymity. Khan was rushed to a private hospital in Howrah where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
“Four people have been arrested till Tuesday afternoon. Khan’s family named some suspects,” the police officer said.
Wazul Khan is the TMC’s third Muslim leader killed in three days.
Muharram Sheikh, a TMC youth wing leader at Canning in South 24 Parganas district, was murdered near his home on Saturday night. Police arrested seven suspects of whom four were named by Sheikh’s family. “The assailants escaped in an auto-rickshaw and the murder was caught on a security camera,” said a district police officer who did not want to be named.
In the second incident, Muhammad Sulaiman, a TMC leader in the Rajgunj area of Jalpiguri district in north Bengal was shot from close range in the head by two motorcycle-borne men on Sunday night. He was rushed to a local hospital and later shifted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri where he died on Tuesday morning.
“Sulaiman was shot when he was standing near a lottery ticket stall. The shopkeeper also suffered some injuries. An investigation is on,” said a police officer from Jalpaiguri.
After the last murder in Howrah district, the victim’s brother, Guddu Khan, told the media that Khan received several threats. Though Guddu Khan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the March-April assembly polls, police officers said they did not find any evidence of inter-party rivalry in the crime.
Some local TMC leaders, however, accused the BJP but the saffron camp denied the allegation.
Manimohan Bhattacharya, the newly-appointed convenor of the BJP’s Howrah unit said, “Our party knows nothing about this. The crime was committed by criminals who should be arrested immediately.”
After the back-to-back murders, the state BJP alleged that rule of law has been replaced by the rule of the jungle during the TMC regime.
“The murders are proof of lawlessness in the state. Mamata Banerjee has established jungle raj,” said BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh.
The ruling party refused to attach any importance to Ghosh’s allegation.
“He (Ghosh) is so insignificant in his own party that he was removed from the post of state president two months ago. Why should we react to what Ghosh says?” said TMC Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy.
The BJP got an opportunity to hit back at the TMC when two rival groups of the ruling party clashed with bombs and guns at Dubrajpur in Birbhum district on Tuesday over control of a football field. Six people were injured and eight villagers were detained. Videos shot by the villagers, showing bombs going off and a man firing a pistol, went viral on social media.
“The clash started over a land dispute. Eight people have been detained and two firearms seized along with some ammunition,” Birbhum’s superintendent of police, Nagendra Nath Tripathi, told the media.
TMC’s Bhirbhum district president Anubrata Mondal did not deny that his party’s supporters attacked each other.
“Both sides support the TMC but the clash has nothing to do with politics. The dispute over control this football field has been going on since 2009,” Mondal said.
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