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Attack on Abhishek Banerjee convoy: Another Kurmi leader arrested

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | May 29, 2023 11:39 AM

KOLKATA: With the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) taking over the investigation on the attack on Trinamool Congress's national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee's convoy on May 26 evening, one more Kurmi leader has been arrested in this connection.

State police sources said that fresh arrest on this count had been Nishikanta Mahato, one of the lead faces of the Kurmi movement in the state. The Kurmis have been demanding Scheduled Tribe status for the people of the community.

Nishikanta, as said by state police sources, was virtually the right- hand man of Kurmi leader Rajesh Mahato who had been arrested earlier in this connection.

Rajesh Mahato, also a teacher in a state-run school in West Bengal, was first transferred from this domicile district to a distant one immediately after the attack on Banerjee's convoy and subsequently arrested. Now with Nishikanta's arrest, feel political observers, the Kurmi issue is slated to take a more serious turn in the coming days as Kurmi leaders have already threatened bigger agitations on this issue.

Meanwhile BJP leadership in West Bengal has thrown full support towards the Kurmi leaders on this issue. "If the state government thinks that they can play with the sentiments of the people of Kurmi community, there will be fire at the tribal dominated pockets in Junglemahal area in West Bengal," said BJP's national vice-president and the party Lok Sabha member, Dilip Ghosh.

The leader of the opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, on the other hand, has announced that he is willing to provide full legal support to the Kurmi leaders on this count.

"The transfer of Rejesh Mahato and then his arrest was done with the intention of vendetta politics. Our full support is behind them," Adhikari said.

He said that the transfer order for Rejesh Mahato was issued on Friday midnight which was hours after the attack on the convoy took place at Salboni on Friday evening. "From the order issued at midnight and that too during the summer vacation of schools is clear indication how vindictive the current state government is," Adhikari said.

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