Bhangar: A bullet-and-bomb attack on a panchayat poll rally killed a 30-year-old in Bhangar, 25km from the heart of Calcutta, prompting Mamata Banerjee to publicly blame expelled Trinamool strongman Arabul Islam who residents say unofficially heads the local party unit.
The former Bhangar MLA was arrested late at night from a paddy field behind his home for Hafizul Molla’s murder, which comes three days before an election marred by allegations of Trinamool violence.
A bullet had gone through Hafizul’s mouth on Friday afternoon as he marched with hundreds of fellow supporters of an umbrella outfit spearheading protests against a power substation in this pocket of South 24-Parganas.
The rally was in favour of nine Independent candidates fielded by the Save Land, Livelihood, Home and Environment Committee for the Polerhat II gram panchayat under Bhangar II.
In the evening, the chief minister said on TV: “I have ordered Arabul’s arrest.”
Arabul had been expelled from Trinamool in 2014 after bloody factional clashes, but local people say he was soon accepted back unofficially.
“Today, one of our supporters was killed by Trinamool. This is a pointer to how the ruling party led by Arabul Islam in Bhangar is engaging in violence,” committee secretary Mirza Hassan said.