Trinamool Congress workers have allegedly cut off the ear of a panchayat worker in Murshidabad district of West Bengal for not reporting to work yesterday, the first day of the two-day Bharat bandh called by major trade unions. The man has been rushed to a Behrampore hospital in critical condition.
The Trinamool workers reportedly asked the victim, Hazrat Omar, today why he had not turned up for work on Wednesday. Mr Omar's answer that he had stayed away on account of the bandh reportedly led to a scuffle and his ear was cut off. "They attacked me with a knife and cut my left ear," he told IANS and added that he would file a police complaint once out of hospital.
However, Trinamool Congress has denied that its workers were part of the incident. "In this age of 24/7 media, rumours go wild. Nobody's ear was cut, no TMC workers attacked anybody. Can our rivals desist from dirty tricks," Trinamool spokesperson Derek O'Brien tweeted.
"On Feb 21 a pradhan in a #Bengal village did not come to office. Upset at work not being done, locals roughed him up. Nothing to do with TMC," he added.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, also the chief minister of the state, has emphatically said that the bandh must not be successful in West Bengal. She has also announced no work, no pay for these two days.
There have been other reports of brutality against people who have not reported to work in West Bengal during the bandh. A headmaster was allegedly beaten up for not opening his school at Hariharpara, also in Murshidabad district.
Manindranath Biswas was apparently gheraoed by TMC workers outside the school this morning when he came to work. They heckled him and didn't let him go till he fell unconscious.
Adhir Chowdhury, a Congress leader from Berhampore, condemned the incident and called the Trinamool a "party of goons." "The Trinamool Congress has vowed to keep strikers at bay and this is what they are doing. Trinamool is now a party of goons who have gone out of control," he said.
CPM's Sitaram Yechury also slammed the Trinamool. "They don't understand the basic thing that the Constitution gives everyone the right to call strike. This can only be described as fascism," he said.