4 missing panchayat members return; police deny abduction claim, no FIR yet

Four panchayat members from Diamond Harbour sub-division of South 24 Parganas district who were allegedly abducted on Friday returned home after nearly 48 hours on Sunday, claiming that the abduction was done at gunpoint by some people affiliated with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The TMC, however, rejected the allegations.

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It was alleged that the TMC was putting pressure on members affiliated to the Opposition parties to help it form majority in the Krishnachandrapur gram panchayat that falls in Diamond Harbour sub-division’s Mathurapur block.

On Saturday, the police claimed that the four members, including a woman, who won in the recently held panchayat elections were not abducted and that they had informed the authorities about this on their own. The police claimed to have written statements of the members that they were not abducted.

No FIR has been registered in this connection, officials said.

In the Krishnachandrapur panchayat, the Trinamool has won four out of the 15 seats, the BJP six, the CPI(M) three, while two went to independent candidates supported by the Left.

On Friday, former minister and CPI(M) leader Kanti Ganguly filed a complaint at the Panchsayar police station in Kolkata, alleging abduction by Trinamool-affiliated people.

He alleged that the winning candidates were being abducted at gunpoint and they had CCTV footage of such an incident.

The four members on Friday night took refuge in a guest house where they were abducted from, it was alleged.

Taking to mediapersons on Sunday, Puja Chhatui, one of the abducted members belonging to the BJP, said, “We were having lunch at a guest house in Panchasayar on Friday. In the meantime, some miscreants came and abducted us at

gunpoint. Local TMC leaders and police officials were present there and we were forced to write a statement that we were not abducted.”

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Kanti Ganguly said, “It is now clear that the TMC abducted them in broad daylight in connivance with the police. Strong disciplinary action should be taken against erring police personnel.”

Claiming that the police are helping the ruling party in abducting people, BJP state president Sukanta Majumder said, “This is not new in Bengal. The police have assumed the role of TMC workers. Yesterday, I came to know that four of our members were kidnapped in a bid to take over the panchayat. They were allowed to return home on the order of the top Trinamool leadership out of fear of the courts. A bit of democracy is left in Bengal because of courts.”

Denying the allegations, TMC leader Saokat Mollah said, “Our workers did not abduct anyone. These members are eager to join the TMC. The CPIM and the BJP are concocting these stories to save their face.”