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LF MLAs pay respect to slain leader outside WB assembly

Last updated on: February 23, 2012 15:12 IST

A controversy arose on Thursday over paying respects to slain former Communist Party of India-Marxist MLA Pradip Tah in the assembly when Left Front MLAs placed wreaths on the body outside the House after the authorities barred media from coming inside the premises.

Protesting against the assembly authorities' refusal to allow the media inside and alleging that proper arrangement had not been made, the CPI-M brought Tah's body outside the assembly's main gate and paid their last respects there.

Led by Leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra, Left Front MLAs placed wreaths on the former North Burdwan MLA's body which would be taken to his ancestral house in Burdwan district for last rites later on Thursday.

"Neither the Speaker, Deputy Speaker nor any ruling party member was present there to pay respects," Mishra told mediapersons.

"The Speaker expressed his inability to allow the media inside the premises. I don't know on whose direction these things are happening," he said.

The Speaker had a few weeks back banned the media inside the assembly premises when the House is not in session.

"A table, on which the body was to be placed, and chairs to seat the members and staff had also been removed at the last minute," Mishra claimed.

Regarding the statements on the murders by the government side, Mishra said, "What the chief minister is saying and what her colleagues are saying, as also the statements of the police, are all contradictory."

Maintaining that it was a preplanned murder, Mishra claimed, "One of the four arrested was a kingpin, but the other three were not directly involved." 

Earlier, Left Front leaders paid their last respects to Tah at the party headquarters, after it was brought there in a procession.

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Left Front chairman Biman Basu laid wreaths on Tah's body which was wrapped in a party flag on Alimuddin Street, the party headquarters in Kolkata, along with several other leaders and workers.

The body, which was brought in Kolkata on Wednesday night, was first taken to the CITU office, from where it was taken in a procession joined by party workers and supporters to Alimuddin Street.

Senior Left Front leaders present there expressed outrage at the incident in which CPI-M Burdwan district committee member Kamal Gayen was also killed.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose, describing the incident as outrageous, said, "The way they (Trinamool Congress leaders) are talking shows anarchy is prevailing in the state."

Asked about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's statement in Delhi on Wednesday that "it was their internal clash", Bose said, "The chief minister is giving statements without knowing the facts. So I don't want to comment on that."

CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar alleged, "It is a planned murder. The state ministers and the chief minister are giving contradictory statements."

A 12-hour bandh is being observed in Burdwan district to protest against the killing of Tah and Gayen at Dewandighi in Burdwan town on Wednesday.

Burdwan police said shops were closed, transport was thin on the roads. Train services were normal. However, essential services were exempted from the purview of the ban.

So far, no untoward incident was reported in connection with the bandh.

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