Bengal minister injured in bomb attack in railway station

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(Eds: Adds details, political reax) Baharampur (WB) Feb 17 (PTI) West Bengal minister Jakir Hossain was seriously injured after unidentified attackers hurled a crude bomb at him in Nimtita railway station in Murshidabad district on Wednesday night, police said.

At least two other persons, who were with the Trinamool Congress MLA of Jangipur, were also injured in the incident which occurred ahead of the assembly election in West Bengal due in April-May this year.

Senior minister and TMC leader Malay Ghatak held 'political rivals of the party' responsible for the attack, while Sabhadhipati of Murshidabad Zilla Parishad Mosharaf Hossain, who was expelled from the TMC earlier in the day, claimed that it is the result of the party's internal feud.

Hossain, the minister of state for labour, was waiting at platform no 2 of the station to catch a train to Kolkata at around 10 pm when he was attacked, a senior police officer of West Bengal Police told PTI.

'We have started an investigation,' he said adding that a large police contingent was posted at Nimtita railway station.

The minister and the two other injured persons were taken to Jangipur Sub-divisional Hospital, he said.

An official of the hospital said that the minister suffered 'injuries on his legs and lower abdominal part. We are trying to stabilise him before shifting him to a hospital in Kolkata.' When contacted, Ghatak told PTI that Jakir is a very popular leader in Murshidabad.

'He has successfully conducted rallies where thousands of people participated. It's the work of our political rivals.

They wanted to kill Jakir,' Ghatak said.

The TMC's Murshidabad district president Abu Taher Khan suspected the involvement of the BJP or the Congress, which was very strong in the district even a few years back, behind the attack.

BJP national general secretary in-charge of Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya and state the party's state president Dilip Ghosh condemned the attack on Hossain.

'I strongly condemn the crude bomb attack on TMC minister Jakir Hossain at Nimtita railway station, Murshidabad. I pray for speedy recovery of the injured,' Vijayvargiya tweeted.

'This shows that West Bengal is not safe even for ministers. The law and order has totally failed,' Ghosh said.

West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who hails from the district, said, 'Jakir is an honest leader unlike several others in the TMC in Murshidabad. I know him personally. I request the state government to arrest the culprits as soon as possible.' PTI SCH NN NN