A Trinamool Congress (TMC) worker was hacked to death allegedly by a group belonging to a local party strongman at Banshjor village in Birbhum district’s Suri Sadar sub-division on Saturday night.
The incident, which led to tension in the area triggered by a clash between supporters of the victim, identified as Sheikh Faizul (20) of Banshjor, and the strongman, Kajal Shah, is believed to a fallout of a dispute over control on illegal sand mining.
Kajal Shah was arrested along with 14 of his associates in connection with Faizul’s murder, said Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Shyam Singh, adding that police force was deployed in a large number to avert any untoward incident in the area.
A case was registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 ( murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and provisions of the Explosive Substance Act, a police official said.
According to local residents, nearly 10 people attacked Faizul with sharp-edged weapons around 9pm when he was sitting with his associates near a graveyard in the village. On this, his associates retaliated and the two groups even hurled crude bombs at each other before the assailants fled from the spot, it is learnt.
On Sunday, the 15 arrested accused were produced in a court that sent Kajal Shah and four others to five-day police remand and the rest to judicial custody of 14 days.
Kajal Shah, a former acting president of the Tilpara panchayat samiti of TMC, has been linked with illegal sand mining for long, officials said.
Addressing a press conference in Suri on Sunday, state minister Firhad Hakim, who was in the district at the time of the incident, said he spoke to police seeking immediate action against those involved in the incident irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I told the police that no one should be spared. The culprits must be arrested so that people can live in peace in the area. Also, police have been asked to ensure that sand mining is done legally in the area. I called the ADGP (law and order) in the morning,” Hakim said.
The government will not allow illegal sand mining, he said, adding that he also spoke to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and requested her to recruit more police personnel for this area.
“The Trinamool will not accept such acts. Everyone claims to be from the Trinamool. Anyone who commits illegal acts cannot be from the party,” the minister said. BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said, “Another murder takes place over control on in the area illegal sand mining. The TMC is a party of hooligans and this stands proved yet again.”