Five people were injured when workers of Trinamul and the BJP clashed at a village near here on Sunday morning over alleged refusal by the ruling party’s leaders to give back to local people cards for the 100-day rural employment guarantee scheme and bank passbooks.
Around 6am on Sunday, about 50 residents of Gopalpur in Kankalitala panchayat, mostly BJP supporters, went to the village square where local Trinamul leaders sit every day and asked them to return their job cards and passbooks.
When the Trinamul leaders allegedly refused, a clash broke out and both the groups attacked each other with sticks. Five persons suffered injuries and were later released from Bolpur subdivisional hospital after treatment.
The BJP secured a lead of 312 votes in the Kankalitala gram panchayat in the Lok Sabha polls.
A BJP leader said it was the practice of local Trinamul functionaries to keep the job cards and bank passbooks of villagers with them and force the workers to pay cut money for various government schemes. “Panchayat member Buddhadeb Kaibartya are among Trinamul leaders who took the job cards and passbooks three months ago threatening that they would not be allotted work under government schemes if they did not hand over the same,” said the BJP leader.
Kaibartya, however, said: “We did not take job cards or passbooks from anyone. We are being falsely accused.”
The villagers said the job cards and passbooks of 105 residents had been with the Trinamul leaders for the past few months.
Sources said one of the reasons for the BJP’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal was that people had been angry over the involvement of Trinamul leaders in extortions. Demanding cuts from government aid to rural masses and real estate projects at urban centres has become rampant across the state in the past few years.
Senior district officials have said the job cards and the bank passbook are properties of the persons concerned.
Sushil Hazra, a local BJP worker, said: “We have already written to the SDO and the BDO of Bolpur, saying job cards and passbooks were grabbed by Trinamul leaders. But no one took any step.”
“We can’t operate our bank accounts without the passbooks. We can’t even know how much money we have in the bank. This time, we got a lead in our panchayat and we will now take back our documents from the Trinamul leaders,” Hazra added.
Abhra Adhikary, the subdivisional officer of Bolpur, said: “I have already talked to the BDO. If the allegation is true, steps will be taken to return the documents to the villagers.”