Baruipur: Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam was on Saturday sent to ten days police custody in connection with the killing of a supporter of an independent candidate in the May 14 West Bengal panchayat polls.
Islam, a district-level leader of the TMC and a former MLA, was arrested last night on the orders of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is also in charge of the home department.
He was produced before the Baruipur sub-divisional magistrate’s court today and remanded in police custody till May 22.
The police, which has registered a case of murder against Islam, had sought his remand for 14 days. Hafizul Mollah, 25, was yesterday hit by a bullet on his chest when he, along with other supporters of the independent candidate, was taking part in a procession from Kashipur to Machhibhanga in Bhangor in the state’s South 24 Parganas district.
The police are now on the lookout for the TMC leader’s son and brother for their alleged involvement in the incident, a senior police officer said. After Islam’s arrest, police searches yielded a large number of bombs from areas around his residence and an adjoining pond, he said.
Most of the independent candidates in the area are associated with the Jami Rakkha Committee (save land committee), an anti-land acquisition outfit opposing the setting up of a power grid unit in Bhangor in the state’s South 24 Parganas district.
The procession yesterday was taken out in response to an alleged attack by Islam’s associates on the residence of the rival independent candidate on the night of May 10.
Islam, who is the chairman of the Bhangor II Panchayat Samiti, is facing a challenge from an independent candidate in the rural polls.
Mollah was grievously injured when bombs and bullets rained on the members of the procession, the police said. He was rushed to a nursing home and then to a hospital, where he was declared ‘brought dead’, they said.
The Jami Rakkha Committee alleged that Islam’s men had unleashed violence so that he could win the election without any opposition. It also claimed that several other supporters of the committee were injured in the attack.
A large police contingent remained deployed in the area to maintain peace, the police said. The State Election Commission is keeping watch on the law and order situation in all districts, including South 24-Parganas district, officials said.
Area domination by special forces through route march have already begun in all sensitive and super sensitive areas, the police said. Several contingent of forces from other states have already arrived. The rest would reach here by tomorrow, they said.