Bengal polls: Independent candidate’s supporter killed, TMC leader held

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Kolkata, May 12 (IANS) A supporter of an Independent candidate for the coming panchayat polls was killed in West Bengal’s Bhangar on Friday, following which police arrested local strongman of the ruling Trinamool Congress Arabul Islam.

Hafizul Molla (26), a resident of Bhangar’s Machibhanga in South 24 Parganas district, died after an armed attack on a political rally brought out by the “Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee” (committee to protect land, livelihood, ecology and environment)’, which has been leading a movement against the construction of a power grid sub-station in the area.

Bhangar has been on the boil for over a year now on the issue of construction of the sub-station.

According to the leaders of Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee, the deceased was shot in the head while walking in the rally, taken out in support of the Independent candidates backed by the committee for the polls.

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“Hafizul Molla, a resident of Bhangar’s Machibhanga has been shot dead allegedly while walking in a rally taken out by the committee in Polerhaat-2 in South 24 Parganas district’s Kashipur,” Sarmistha Chowdhury, leader of CPI-ML Red Star, that has been backing the movement, told IANS.

“The attack was conducted by a group of miscreants backed by local Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam, who opened fire and hurled bombs at the rally,” she said.

Following the killing, a huge contingent of state police launched raids at various pockets in the area in search of Islam and his associates.

Arabul was finally arrested at around 10.30 p.m from a field behind his residence at Gazipur, said Baruipur Superintendent of Police Arijit Sinha.

According to Sinha, Arabul — a former MLA — was nabbed by the police after tracking his mobile location.

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Meanwhile, Chowdhury said a local resistance group called “Bhangar Andolan Sanghati Committee” would hold a rally on Saturday from Kolkata’s Moulali to Esplanade to protest the killing.

Nine Independent candidates backed by the local committee and the ultra-left parties are contesting in eight Gram Panchayat and one Panchayat Samiti seats in Bhangar after the Calcutta High Court directed the State Election Commission to accept their nomination papers submitted through WhatsApp, as they were allegedly physically restrained from completing the paperwork.

–IANS

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