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CPI(M) councillor shot dead

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Ahead of the Assembly polls in West Bengal, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) councillor of the Barrackpore municipality in the State's North 24 Parganas district was shot dead by unidentified men on Friday morning.

Jamil Akthar, councillor from ward no. 17, was shot in the head while he sitting at a roadside tea stall near his residence in the district town. He used to often visit the place often. His assailants escaped on bicycles, according to eye-witnesses.

Akhtar was declared dead on arrival at the local hospital, the police said. Angry over the incident, local residents blocked roads and the railway tracks, affecting train services for a while. The police used batons to disperse them. A police vehicle was attacked during the incident.

State Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh described the incident as a major one.

Five companies of paramilitary forces are being sent to ensure calm in the area, a State official added.

From what can be gathered from the people of the locality, those responsible for Akthar's murder are sheltered by the Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) State Secretary Biman Bose said in a statement.

Demanding the immediate arrest of the killers he said: “There are no words to adequately express the condemnation of the murder at a time when the election campaign is on. “It is ominous. Miscreants sheltered by the Trinamool could be working towards creating afresh an atmosphere of violence,” Mr. Bose said.

Protest rallies and roadside meetings will be held by the Left Front across the State on Saturday to condemn such acts and appeal to all democratic-minded and right-thinking people to stand up against attempts by the Trinamool to subvert democracy and peace, he added.

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