Panchayat 2018: Hundreds Hits Street Against Arrest Of Arabul Islam

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Bhangor: Hundreds hit the streets in Bhangar on Saturday against expelled Trinamool strongman Arabul Islam, a day after his arrest over the murder of a land protester in a panchayat poll rally.

Police said preliminary investigations indicated Arabul – expelled from Trinamool in 2014 but accepted back unofficially in 2016 according to locals – was responsible for the murder of Hafizul Molla, 30. Arabul was arrested late on Friday on Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s orders.

“Arabul’s arrest doesn’t matter until he is hanged,” said Molla’s wife Sabira Bibi. Molla, a tailor, had married six months ago and was part of the Land, Livelihood, Home and Environment Committee, a group spearheading land protests against a power sub-station in the area.

Friday’s rally, where Molla took a bullet in his mouth, was the biggest in recent times in Bhangar and was brought out in favour of nine Independents fielded by the committee in the Polerhat II gram panchayat for Monday’s rural polls.

On Saturday, hundreds gathered around Molla’s house discussed in hushed tones the reign of terror allegedly unleashed by Arabul, a former MLA who residents claim unofficially heads the local Trinamool unit.

On Saturday, some of those opposed to the power project blocked the road to Bhangar from Rajarhat. “We will allow poll personnel and ballot boxes on Monday. All of us will vote,” said a youth.

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