Trinamool's Arabul held for attack on CPI-M's Rezzak

Kolkata, Jan 17 (IANS) Former Trinamool Congress legislator Arabul Islam was Thursday arrested for allegedly leading attacks against CPI-M leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah and other Marxist activists, police said. A court sent him to five days police custody.

"We have filed a case against Islam under several non-bailable offences and he has been remanded to five days police custody by the court," South 24 Parganas police superintendent Pravin Tripathi told IANS.

Communists "fired the bullets and the one to get arrested is me. I do not know if there will be peace in Bhangar. It all depends upon my supporters", Islam an influential leader from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district, said following his arrest.

Mollah, a former minister and a senior legislator, was severely beaten up by Trinamool workers led by Islam Jan 6 when he went to Bamanghata area in the district where a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) office had been damaged.

The veteran Marxist is still in hospital with multiple injuries, including a lumber bone fracture. The attack caused a political uproar, with the civil society expressing concern over the law and order situation.

The disturbances stretched to Jan 8 when a number of political activists were injured in firing and clashes between the Trinamool and CPI-M.

Governor M.K. Narayanan had said: "This is not a good political culture. I think some sort of goondaism is going on here."

The CPI-M called Islam's arrest belated while Trinamool activists took out a protest rally.

CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, who called on Mollah at the hospital Thursday, demanded that the law should take its full course to ensure justice.

"We have been demanding for nearly two weeks that those responsible for the attack on Mollah should be arrested. Today one of the main persons has been arrested. This is only the first step, a beginning," he said.

"We want the law to take its full course. Justice should be done. We will see if it (the arrest) is being followed up," he said.

CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the arrest should have been made earlier and hoped Islam would not be granted bail as he was responsible for attacking a veteran leader.

Former CPI-M MP Sujon Chakraborty, now secretary of the party's South 24 Parganas district, said the government should have taken action against Islam earlier.

"We had to fight. All over the state people were disturbed. But if Arabul is released after two-three days, then we have to say this is only an eyewash," he said.

Congress leader O.P. Mishra welcomed the police action but hoped the arrest was "genuine and not a mere eyewash".

Enraged after the arrest, Trinamool activists hit the streets at Bhangor in the district where shops downed shutters. Additional police forces were rushed to prevent violence.