- A Trinamool worker and two from the BJP were killed in clashes
- Clashes took place over removal of party flags from public places
- The BJP has long accused the TMC of trying to intimidate its workers
At least three people - one Trinamool Congress worker and two from the BJP - were killed in Bengal's North 24 Paraganas district after clashes between the two parties broke out on Saturday evening. BJP leaders have claimed a third worker has also died and that five more are missing.
A BJP delegation that includes party leader Mukul Roy will travel to New Delhi today to meet party chief and Home Minister Amit Shah, who has sought a report on the violence.
Incidents of violence between BJP and Trinamool workers have increased after a bitterly fought election in which the saffron party ended up winning 18 of 42 Lok Sabha seats - only four behind the Trinamool's 22. Mamata Banerjee's party claimed 34 in the 2014 polls.
There have been at least three clashes reported in the last 10 days alone, starting with a BJP worker being hacked to death, allegedly by a Trinamool worker, at Ketugram in Burdwan district on May 30. And on Wednesday a Trinamool supporter was allegedly thrashed to death in Cooch Behar, two days after a colleague was shot dead in Kolkata.
"Union Home Minister has asked for a report from the state government and I am sure Centre will take this up seriously. There is a lot of anger among the people over the incident," Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP National General Secretary, told news agency ANI.
The Trinamool worker who was killed had been identified as Qayum Mollah, 26. He was shot and hacked to death in the clashes. The BJP workers killed were Pradip Mondal and Sukanta Mondal, one of whom was shot in the left eye.
The clashes at Nayjat, about 70 km from Kolkata in the Sandeshkhali area, took place at 7 pm yesterday evening. They were triggered by the removal of party flags from public places in the Hatgacha panchayat area. As a huge police force was rushed to the area to maintain calm, another person was killed in what locals said was a factional fight within the Trinamool in Hooghly district.
The area in which the clashes took place is part of the Bashirhat Lok Sabha seat that was won by the Trinamool. However the BJP claimed a 144-vote at Hatgacha. Till late Saturday night, three bodies had been brought to a hospital in Bashirhat.
According to locals, the Trinamool was holding a booth-level meet at a marketplace at Hatgacha. Several BJP workers were in the vicinity. Insults and angry exchanges snowballed into violence. The BJP claims Trinamool workers opened fire. The Trinamool claims the BJP workers pulled out pistols.
BJP leader Mukul Roy, who is part of the delegation traveling to meet Mr Shah, pinned the blame directly on Trinamool Congress chief and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The CPM, meanwhile, is planning to hold protest today at a police station in South 24 Parganas district against the killing of one of its party workers on Thursday. The party claims that workers of the ruling Trinamool barged into his house and hacked him to death..
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