KHEJURI/KOLKATA, 10 June 2009: Political violence is once again becoming the order of the day in West Bengal. Only, this time, CPI (M) is at the receiving end, and that too in areas till now considered its bastions.
Routed from Nandigram, CPI(M) is now facing the heat in neighbouring Khejuri across Talpati canal in trouble-torn East Midnapore district. At least 25 CPI (M) party offices — big and small — were ransacked and set ablaze here on Tuesday during a 12-hour bandh called by Trinamool Congress.
Five state ministers on their way to Khejuri were stopped by Trinamool supporters and not allowed to set foot in the area. With police unable to take action against the culprits who blocked their way, the CPI (M) ministers now want Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi to intervene. They blamed Contai MP and Union minister of state for rural development Sisir Adhikari for the worsening situation in Khejuri.
As in the case of Nandigram, the violence in Khejuri did not escape the notice of the governor. Gandhi expressed his anxiety and urged all concerned to “halt the cycle of violence”. “In a mature democracy such as ours, neither vengeance and vendetta nor bragging and bravado can be allowed either by the victorious or by the defeated,” the governor said even as Trinamool Congress insisted on central intervention in the state.
A CPI (M) stronghold till recently, Khejuri has all of a sudden witnessed a change in political affiliation, forcing the ruling party to go on the back foot. On Monday night, Kalagachhia CPI (M) pradhan Subrata Kar was arrested along with three other party leaders for possessing illegal arms. Trinamool promptly called a 12-hour bandh on Tuesday. Since early morning on Tuesday, Trinamool supporters were seen roaming the streets to enforce the bandh. Tamluk MP Subhendu Adhikari also reached Khejuri to make it a success.
Around 10.30 am, a Trinamool rally with around 50-odd supporters reached Henria on the way to Khejuri. On spotting a CPI (M) party office, the Trinamool workers went berserk. They burnt CPI (M) flags and banners, ransacked the office and then set it on fire. Around the same time, 25 other CPI (M) offices located in different parts of Khejuri were ransacked and set on fire. While the attacks were on, five state ministers — Rekha Goswami, Binoy Biswas, Chakradhar Maikap, Partha De and Rabilal Maitra — were on their way to Khejuri. They were to see the situation and submit a report to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.