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Two dead in Murshidabad during anti-CAA protest

At least two people were killed in a clash between two groups in Sahebnagar village of Jalangi block in Murshidabad district on Wednesday morning. Several were reportedly injured.

One of the persons killed in the clash was identified as Anarul Biswas, 55, locals told The Hindu.

Mr. Biswas was a muezzin (prayer caller) in the local mosque. The other person’s identity is yet to be ascertained.

“I have heard that his name is Salauddin,” said Murshidabad district committee member of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Unus Ali Sarkar.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals, while the police have reached the area and “conducting a house-to-house raid,” said Jalangi block president of the Congress Abdul Rezzak Mollah.

Recently, a civil society platform represented by mainly Muslims was formed in the area. It was named as Citizen’s Platform.

The forum gave a bandh call on Wednesday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

“The band was observed as the Muslim Personal Law Board gave a protest call,” said Mr. Mollah.

Mr. Sarkar said that people irrespective of their political affiliation joined the group.

“The platform had supporters from all parties – Congress, CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress [TMC] – in it. People without any political affiliation also joined the platform to protest,” said Mr. Sarkar, a CPI(M) MLA from 1991-2011.

Since it is a Muslim-majority area, almost all members of this flexible platform were Muslims, Mr. Sarkar said.

The bandh supporters were observing a sit-in at Sahebnagar market area when Tahiruddin Mondal, the president of Jalangi North block of TMC, arrived.

Reportedly, he and his associates reached the area in two vehicles. They wanted to “disperse the crowd”, said Mr. Sarkar.

An eminent local journalist, not affiliated to any political party, said that the protesters “first attacked TMC leader and his associates.”

Mr. Mondal’s brother was also beaten up, the journalist said.

Soon after, Mr. Mondal’s team returned and allegedly opened fire on the protesters in the market area, killing two.

Mr. Mollah said that their question to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “is simple.”

“If the bandh supporters are to be dispersed, then the administration and the police should do it. Our point is, when TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is opposing CAA, why is her party leader randomly opening fire on the innocent and unarmed protesters?” asked Mr. Mollah.

Mr. Mondal could not be reached for comments.

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