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Saifuddin Laskar’s death reignites battle for political power

By Shabana Javed

Nov. 16
Bengal is again witnessing the politics of violence. Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district Joynagar’s Trinamool leader Saifuddin Laskar may be shot dead by assassins. Investigators were predicting this at the beginning of the investigation, according to police source.

TMC leader Saifuddin Laskar who was shot dead

Laskar, the local area president of the ruling TMC, was on his way to a local mosque to pray at around 5 a.m. in the morning when he was attacked. While the victim’s wife is the local Gram Panchayat Pradhan, Laskar himself was a Panchayat member of Bamangachhi. The murder triggered violence in the area and a mob lynched a man, identified as Sahabuddin Laskar, who they suspected of having committed the crime before setting fire to 20-25 houses belonging to CPI(M) workers and supporters.

In this chain of murders, the police arrested the alleged shooter, identified as Shahrul Sheikh. Shahrul Sheikh was sent to 10 days of police custody by the Baruipur sub-divisional court.

In retaliation more than 20 houses were burnt down, ransacked and allegedly looted in the adjoining villages which were dominated by CPI(M) supporters.

“Police did not help us. They were standing at a distance and watching while we sought help and our children were thrown into the ponds and houses were burnt,” a woman Tuhina Bibi said.

The villagers claimed that Fire Brigade was not allowed to enter the village initially and the police did not take any action.

Senior CPI(M) leader and Central Committee member Soujan Chakraborty said, “Every death is unfortunate. Trinamool knows who is responsible for its leader’s death. Trinamool leader Saifuddin Laskar is a mafia leader. Several houses of our supporters have been burnt down, rampaged and Police acted as silent onlooker. We were not allowed to enter the area.”

He quipped, “Who has the responsibility to protect people? It is the administration who should take care of the situation.”

Asserting that violence is influencing politics in the state, West Bengal Governor Dr CV Ananda Bose said strong action would be taken against those involved in the killing of a local Trinamool Congress leader in Joynagar of South 24 Parganas district and lynching of an accused in the incident.

“Law will take its course. We will certainly take strong action against it and Raj Bhavan will also be doing its duty,” says the Governor.

“Arson, looting, intimidation and murder are part of the crime. A crime-ridden environment exists in some parts of the state. We will certainly try our best to see that this culture of violence ends. Strong action will be taken,” Bose added.

Baruipur district police officials have started probing the case. One person has been arrested in this connection.

Senior police official S N Gupta said, “We have started probe in the case and taking help of CID. We expect the case will be promptly solved and the accused will be nabbed.”

The death of the TMC leader has evoked fear among the people. It has raised many questions. The family members of Laskar have demanded justice.

On the other hand, political tension between the Left and the TMC after Laskar’s death has left the common people unsettled. Those who were CPI(M) supporters now want to return home and are demanding protection from the government as the death of Laskar has once again started a war of political control in the area. Laskar’s death has now re-ignited a battle for political power in the region.


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