Murder ire erupts on ministers

Raiganj, Jan. 12: Trinamul ministers Gautam Deb and Subrata Saha were today heckled by people in a Raiganj village where they had gone to meet the families of two murdered party workers on Mamata Banerjee's instructions.

Villagers in Maraigura surrounded the ministers' car and questioned them about the deteriorating law and order in Raiganj, where six murders have been reported in the past 11 days.

The villagers also damaged a police vehicle that had gone to Maraigura ahead of the visit of the north Bengal development minister and the fisheries minister.

A team of 50 policemen was prevented from entering Maraigura by a 250-strong crowd, which blocked the road and shouted slogans against the police for failing to maintain law and order in Raiganj.

At noon, the ministers reached Maraigura, around 2km from Raiganj. Their convoy was stopped by the villagers.

"What are the police doing in Raiganj? Six persons have been murdered in 11 days. But no arrests have been made," farmer Sridam Das was seen shouting at Deb.

Deb and Saha tried to calm the villagers, saying the chief minister was concerned about the situation in Raiganj and the police and the administration had been asked to take immediate steps to curb violence.

The ministers, escorted by the police, then walked to the houses of Kshirod Das and Mukunda Das, who were killed on Thursday, and met the family members.

Deb later blamed the Congress for the violence in Raiganj, though he didn't name the party. "It is a planned act to make the state government anxious. The party that manages the affairs in civic bodies in places like Kaliaganj (Congress) is backing the criminals," he told reporters in Maraigura.

He added: "We are here on instructions from the chief minister. We have asked the police and the administration to take appropriate action."

Congress MLA in Raiganj Mohit Sengupta hit back at Deb. "It is disappointing that ministers, instead of admitting the lapses on the part of the police, are trying to pass the buck."


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