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Featured Image: Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya (holding a mobile) with CPI-M workers during the sit-in at New Jalpaiguri police outpost on Wednesday morning. Photo courtesy: CPI-M

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 16 September: ANGRY over police detaining a fellow party activist, a group of Trinamool Congress workers partially vandalised the New Jalpaiguri (NJP) police outpost and beat up policemen and some CPI-M activists sending them to hospital bed.

The vandalism took place on Tuesday late night allegedly under the leadership of Trinamool trade union leader Bijan Nandi alias John.

Demanding that all the perpetrators of the attack be arrested at once, CPI-M leader and Siliguri mayor Asok Bhattacharya held a sit-in in front of the NJP police outpost on Wednesday morning. NJP outpost is located about 8 km from Siliguri town and its distance from the New Jalpaiguri railway station is about 2 km.

The sit-in was withdrawn after Siliguri police commissioner Manoj Verma spoke to the Mayor over the phone and assured speedy action. Police have since then arrested one Swapan Pal but the main accused John is still out in the open.

Trouble began on Tuesday evening after a group of Trinamool Congress workers went to the house of a CPI-M leader Shambhu Dey in Siliguri Municipal Corporation’s (SMC) ward number 35, apparently to conduct a booth level survey to assess Trinamool’s support base. The ward falls in the added area of SMC and is part of the Rajganj Assembly segment of North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb.

An argument broke out between the Trinamool surveyors and the CPI-M leader as he objected to their visit so late into the evening. Eventually, Dey called up the NJP police, after which cops brought both the squabbling factions to the outpost.

Getting to know of this, CPI-M councillor Tapas Chatterjee went there along with some other party workers. Not very long after this, a group of around 40 Trinamool activists led by John followed them in to the outpost around 11.40 pm.

The group led by John sought an explanation from the police as to why Trinamool workers have been brought to the outpost and soon began to beat up the CPI-M workers present there. When the policemen tried to stop them, the vandals turned their ire at the cops. They beat up an assistant sub-inspector Jalpeswar Roy, broke a window and a police car that was parked in the outpost premises.

Roy, along with two CPI-M workers were admitted to a private nursing home later in the night. The additional commissioner of police (ACP) Siliguri east, Pinaki Majumdar however, maintained that the policeman was injured in a “scuffle” with the Trinamool workers and no incident of vandalism has taken place at the NJP outpost.