CPI(M), Cong, Maoists Behind Birbhum Clash: Minister

CPI(M), Cong, Maoists Behind Birbhum Clash: Minister

A West Bengal minister today alleged that members of CPI(M) and Congress, besides Maoist cadres were behind the November 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, said the question that how the "bows and arrows came at the spot" remains 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 retorted "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. 

Alleging that the CPI(M) members was also involved in the violence, Chatterjee said, "When the Haldia crisis is going to be resolved, they (CPI-M) are trying to make an issue in Birbhum district."

When asked about instructions to Birbhum SP Hrishikesh Meena to go on leave, Chatterjee said, "As per initial reports, the state government has come to know that the SP did not act properly and an administrative inquiry was ordered."

The minister said that he had information that a movement on land price rise was going on in the village.

"Two months ago, I had a talk with the villagers. On Wednesday, OCs of eight local police stations launched a joint drive in the area. Why it was done, will be probed," he said.

Referring to the villagers impounding earth-moving equipment brought in by a coal-mining company, he said that the villagers told him "that the machine would be released."

"But it is strange how so many people gathered at the village in the early hours of November 6,"

"A day ahead of the trouble at the village, PDS leader Samir Putatunda met me at Assembly office with a delegation of villagers," the minister said.

He said a delegation of villagers will meet him tomorrow.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier apologised for the incident.

"Whatever has happened there, should not have happened. I am sorry for it," she had said.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) leader Anisur Rahman who led a party team to the village, today demanded an "impartial" inquiry into the matter.

"We demand an impartial inquiry into the incident so that the guilty can be identified," Rahman said.

He said the villagers had told the team that the police had opened fire and that no outsiders were involved in the clash.

Claiming that the chief minister's statement was contradictory, he questioned why the SP was removed if there was no fault of the police, and why an administrative probe was ordered.

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