Some members of the Trinamool Congress allegedly chopped off the ear of a member of Panchayat at Debipur in Murshidabad district on Thursday.
TMC workers allegedly attacked the victim, Hazrat Omar, as he failed to turn up for work on the first day of the nation-wide bandh called by central trade unions.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had warned all employees of the state government that strict measures will be taken against them if they stayed away from work on account of the bandh. She had asked senior officials in her administration to ensure that the bandh failed in West Bengal.
When the TMC workers asked Omar why he had not showed up for work on Wednesday, he admitted that it was on account of the Bharat bandh.
This answer allegedly angered the Trinamool workers. After a scuffle with Omar, they allegedly chopped off his ear.
The incident was condemned by the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left as ‘barbaric’ and a ‘Taliban-type’ act. The Trinamool has denied its involvement in the incident.
The West Bengal government had issued a warning to employees against being absent during the two-day strike called by trade unions that began on Wednesday.
The employee, Hazrat Omar, was accosted by the assailant, who questioned him as to why he was absent on Wednesday, when he was about to enter his Debipur gram panchayat office in Jalangi in Murshidabad district, police sources said.
The assailant then whipped out a knife and slashed the employee's ear, almost cutting it off and leaving him bleeding profusely, they said. Other employees rushed Omar to the Baharampur General Hospital, the sources said.
Hospital sources said Omar was out of danger and his condition was stable.
Block Development Officer in Jalangi Subhendu Roy said a search for the assailant was going on.
Omar, in his complaint to the police, alleged that his attacker belonged to the Trinamool Congress. The Trinamool Congress, however, denied the allegation and claimed the incident was a fallout of Communist Party of India – Marxist’s infighting.
CPI-M leader Yunus Sarkar alleged that Omar and other party supporters were threatened by the Trinamool in the past few days to attend office during the strike.
"The incident is barbaric. It seems as if we are living in a Taliban regime if the Trinamool Congress is given the liberty to perpetrate atrocities on the common people opposed to it," Union minister and Congress leader Deepa Dasmunshi said.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said West Bengal was quickly descending into questionable governance.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, "It is barbaric and an instance of terrorism in which the state apparatus is involved."
BJP leader Smriti Irani felt that the challenge to law and order in West Bengal is a cause of concern. "Is Left goondaraj being replaced by TMC's goondaraj," he asked.
Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien denied TMC's involvement in the incident, claiming that it may have occurred as the villagers were "very, very upset” at the victim not reporting for duty on Wednesday.