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Bengal PDS scam: MLA, CPM leaders assaulted

October 08, 2007 09:10 IST

Six Communist Party of India leaders, including a legislator, were beaten up, five ration shops were ransacked and two houses set ablaze as the violence against corruption in the public distribution system went on unabated in Bardhaman, Birbhum and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal.

In Bardhaman, a mob beat up ration dealer Sk Fakir Ahmed at Nawabhat area when he refused to pay Rs 16 lakh as compensation for non-distribution of ration for a long period. Six buildings of Ahmed and his relatives were damaged. Some people had allegedly abducted Ahmed on Saturday and made him to promise to pay the compensation before police rescued him in the evening. Trouble started as Ahmed backtracked on Sunday.

When three CPI-M leaders, Pradip Tah, MLA, Ganesh Chowdhury and Kamal Gayen reached the spot to control the situation, people beat them too. The injured MLA was hospitalised.

At Majhigram in the district, villagers beat up ration dealer Subhas Chowdhury and ransacked his shop. When three CPI-M leaders, Kiriti Ghosh, Bindaban Ghosh and Shailen Mallik tried to intervene, villagers beat them up too.

At Nawabhat, agitators also set afire a nearby CPI-M party office and clashed with police which resorted to lathi charge injuring four persons. Two policemen were injured in stone pelting by the mob.

In Birbhum, a mob torched the house of local ration dealer at Banior village on Sunday night, SDPO Mrinal Majumder said.

The dealer and his family members were beaten up and their properties looted before police reached.

A mob also gathered near the house of a ration dealer at Nalhati town's main market area but timely police action saved the dealer, the SDPO said.

Armed police was posted near the ration dealer's house at Sitalgram as a mob of 1000 people assembled around his house and the situation remained very tense till late on Sunday night, Majumder said.

In Bardhaman, villagers ransacked two ration shops at Kumarpur and Lakhsmipur during the day.

In Murshidabad district, Superintendent of Police Rahul Srivastava said ration dealer Zaheer Khan's warehouse at Sherpur was torched by angry villagers. He was beaten up and his shop ransacked.

Thirty-seven people were arrested in connection with these attacks.

Two ration shops were also ransacked and their owners beaten up at Gahira and Shankarpur villages under the same during the day.

In all the cases, villagers were agitated because of irregular supply of rice, wheat, kerosene and others essentials for a long time.

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