Rival TMC factions clash in Kolkata over distribution of lockdown relief

Several were injured and seven people were arrested in connection with the factional feud, said cops

clash
Politics in Bengal is notorious for both inter-party and intra-party clashes | The Federal

Even a nationwide lockdown has failed to prevent political violence in West Bengal. Bombs were hurled and stones showered as two rival factions of the ruling Trinamool Congress fought pitched turf war over distribution of relief to the poor at Kolkata’s Garden Reach area on Sunday (March 29) night.

Several sustained injuries and seven people were arrested in connection with the factional feud, police said on Monday. Several shops and parked vehicles were also damaged as projectiles flew in all directions.

The clash had broken out between supporters of TMC councillors of two adjacent wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) over the distribution of relief materials to pavement dwellers of Ward 135.

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Akhtari Nizami, councillor, Ward 135, alleged that Saba Iqbal, the sister of Shams Iqbal, councillor of neighbouring Ward 134, went around distributing relief in areas under Ward 135.

TMC sources said Saba Iqbal is trying to get a party ticket from Ward 135, and hence have been carrying out several public outreach programmes in that area, much to the annoyance of the incumbent councillor and his supporters.

On Sunday night, when Saba Iqbal was distributing food packets in the area, Akhtari Nizami and her supporters objected to it as they saw political motive behind her act. This led to the clash.

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Saba Iqbal is the daughter of Munna Iqbal, the alleged mastermind in the murder of a police officer, Tapas Chowdhury, in the Garden Reach area in February 2013.

Politics in Bengal is notorious for both inter-party and intra-party clashes. Councillors across the state are now competing with each other in relief distribution in view of the approaching municipality elections in the state, which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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