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WB pre-rural poll violence: TMC strongman charged with murder

Trinamool Congress strongman Arabul Islam, arrested in connection with the killing of an independent candidate’s supporter in South 24 Parganas district ahead of the May 14 panchayat polls in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, will be produced in court on Saturday, police said.

Hafizul Islam Mollah, 25, was hit by a bullet on his chest when he along with other supporters was taking part in a procession from Kashipur to Machhibhanga on Friday.

Arabul was arrested late Friday night on the order of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also in charge of the state’s Home Department.

A senior police officer said Arabul has been booked for murder and will be produced at a court here this afternoon.

Police are also on the lookout for his son and brother for their alleged involvement in the incident, the officer said.

Most of the independents 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.

The procession was taken out in response to an alleged attack by Arabul’s associates on the residence of one of the independent candidates last night.

Arabul, who is the chairman of the Bhangor II panchayat samiti, is pitted against an independent candidate in the rural polls.

Hafizul was grievously injured when bombs and bullets rained on the members of the procession. He was rushed to a nursing home and then to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, police said.

The Jami Rakkha Committee alleged that Arabul’s men had unleashed the 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 has been deployed at the spot to maintain peace.

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