• A 75-year-old mother placed a gas cylinder against the door to her room and pressed it with her trembling hands to keep attackers looking for her son from entering.
•l A five-year-old boy fast asleep at home had a lucky escape when a brick smashed a windowpane, scattering shards of glass all over his bed.
• A homemaker ran to her rooftop with her teenage son and 85-year-old grandfather to escape attackers who had climbed the first-floor balcony of their home and started banging on the door.
A 100-strong mob of Trinamul supporters armed with bricks, sticks and rods marched through a Baghajatin neighbourhood on Sunday night to show the families of four CPM polling agents the “trailer” of a violent retribution they threaten to unleash after May 19.
” Aaj to trailer dekhli, puro cinema dekhabo unish tarikher por (You saw a trailer today, we will show you the full movie after May 19),” said one of the attackers while leaving the area after the rampage that continued in the lanes of Kendua More for 45 minutes.
Smashed windowpanes, a damaged air-conditioner and scared faces told the tale of how Trinamul goons neutralised by central forces and police on election day took out their frustration on the families of the four polling agents of Sujan Chakrabarty, the CPM candidate for the Jadavpur seat.
“I was alone at home around 10.30pm when I heard a group of men shouting. They were looking for my son. Before I could realise what was going on, I heard loud noises and saw windowpanes being shattered,” recounted 75-year-old Mayarani Ghosh. “Some of the attackers were saying, ‘ Tor cheleke ber kore de, oke kuchi kuchi kore katbo (You hand over your son to us, we will cut him into pieces). This was the first time in my life that I had heard such a threat. I was so scared,” she said.
In 2011, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had asked her supporters not to take out victory processions, lest the show of triumph trigger violence. Five years later, with Trinamul under pressure, party supporters seem to be seeking comfort in reprisal after an election in which they haven’t been able to intimidate voters or rig the way they would have liked.
Minister Manish Gupta, seeking re-election from Jadavpur, didn’t take calls from Metro. Debabrata Majumder, member of the mayoral council, claimed that nobody from Trinamul was involved in the attack. “Rather, our supporters were attacked by CPM cadres after the poll,” he said.
The electoral battle for Jadavpur is likely to be a close one since the CPM had led by 308 votes in this Assembly segment during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In 2011, Gupta, backed by the Congress, had defeated the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee by 16,684 votes.
Mayarani’s son Buddhadeb Ghosh, who is the secretary of the CPM’s local committee, said on Monday: “We had seen outsiders on motorcycles moving about suspiciously in Ward 101 of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation since Sunday evening. We informed Patuli police station about this, but there was no initiative from the cops to prevent a possible attack,” Ghosh said.
After targeting Ghosh’s house, the Trinamul mob had turned up in front of the two-storey house of Kamal Majumdar, another CPM polling agent. “I was at home with my 15-year-old son Arnab and 86-year-old grandfather Nityalal Majumdar. I heard a commotion in front of our house and opened the door leading to the first-floor balcony,” recalled Majumdar’s wife Ruma. “I started trembling when I saw an assembly of youths armed with sticks and rods. I promptly shut the door.”
Before Ruma could decide what to do, the attackers had started hurling bricks at the windows of her house. Besides breaking the glass panes, they damaged drainpipes.
Majumdar was waylaid and assaulted when he was returning home. “They hit me with sticks. I ran and took shelter in a house,” he said.
The mob next moved towards the house of Gouranga Das, where they broke the lock on the gate and smashed the outdoor unit of an AC.
“They also tried to set my scooter ablaze but did not succeed,” Das said.
Sushanta Naskar’s house was the last one to be targeted in the teach-a-lesson Trinamul operation.
“I, my wife Mohua and daughter Sumita were polling agents on April 30. We were watching television in our first-floor room and the door to the balcony was open. Suddenly, we heard a loud noise and saw windowpanes being smashed. My four-year-old grandson Debadittyo was asleep and pieces of glass were strewn on his bed. I quickly moved him to another room,” recounted Naskar.
The Naskars were subjected to non-stop heckling for the next 10 minutes. “They were like blood-thirsty beasts,” Naskar’s wife Mohua said.
The police arrived 30 minutes after the mob had left, although Patuli police station is a shout away. Nobody had been arrested for the attack till late on Monday.
Supratim Sarkar, the joint commissioner of police (headquarters), said: “Investigation is going on and appropriate action will be taken against the accused.”