The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday denied involvement in the killing of two senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders in Burdwan town, claiming the two were victims of "mob fury".
Party leader and Law Minister Moloy Ghatak said, "Trinamool Congress was not involved in the incident. The two CPI-M leaders Pradip Tah and Kamal Gayen were victims of mob fury after armed processionists went on the rampage in the area."
Ghatak claimed that Tah, a former CPI-M MLA, was leading an "armed procession" which was taken out without permission in Dewanadighi area of the town in support of the February 28 industrial strike call when the processionists removed a Trinamool Congress flag.
"When Trinamool Congress worker Bidyut protested, he was severely beaten up by the processionists who also went on the rampage in the nearby areas.
"A small police team arrived to pacify the people and there was a scuffle over the removal of the Trinamool flag," he said.
"Enraged at this, residents of the area resisted in which Pradip Tah and Kamal Gayen were injured and later died. Many people also received injuries in the attack by CPI-M procesionists," the minister said.
"We have seen incidents like this at Nandigram and Singur and I think that CPI-M workers became encouraged by the turnout at their Brigade Parade ground rally last Sunday," Ghatak said.
Asked about the FIRs filed in connection with the incident, he said, "We have seen that selectively Trinamool Congress workers were named in the FIR. The police will inquire about the real accused."
The minister, however, conceded that each death was shocking and the incident alarming.
The minister said he would leave for Burdwan and stay there on Thursday.
Echoing Ghatak, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said, "Trinamool Congress worker Bidyut Hazra, who protested CPI-M's wrongdoings, was brutally attacked and was admitted to hospital with serious injuries."
The minister said, "Trinamool Congress has no links with Tuesday's deaths which was a result of a spontaneous protest by the villagers against CPI(M) processionists trying to capture the area."
"Tah was active in inciting the people and his supporters and was removing Trinamool Congress flags from the Dewandighi area," he claimed.
He said three persons, Kashinath Daw, Aloke Nanda and Nantu Master were killed in Dewandighi, once considered to be a CPI-M stronghold, alleging the incident was hatched by the CPI-M to reunite 'harmads' and capture villages.
Hakim said that so far 90 party workers had been killed in the last eight months.
Four persons have been arrested but the kind of arms used was yet to be ascertained, he said.
The government, he said, would carry out an impartial probe and the guilty would be punished as the law would take its own course.
The police have been given necessary instructions so that these incidents were not repeated, the minister said.
Hakim said, "We are telling people not to be trapped by CPI-M's provocation."