Left demands sacking of West Bengal minister

Kolkata, Feb 22: The Left Front Friday demanded the sacking of a West Bengal minister, accusing him of being involved in the Garden Reach incident in which a policeman was shot dead during a clash between student groups.

“There is enough evidence, including video footage, to suggest that the minister was involved. His involvement must be probed and he must be immediately sacked,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose told media here.

Though Bose did not name the minister, he referred to state urban development minister Firhad Hakim, who has been widely criticised for his bid to shield a councillor from his Trinamool Congress party. The councillor was earlier also accused of involvement in the Feb 12 incident which left one policeman dead.

The councillor, Mohammad Iqbal, was charged with rioting, attempt to murder and certain sections of the Arms Act. He was seen at the site of the incident, threatening a policeman and mobilising his supporters.

Video footage aired by television channels showed Iqbal standing beside Sheikh Shubhaan, the man who was caught on TV firing the bullet that allegedly killed the policeman.

Hakim, who defended Iqbal and claimed that he was not involved in the incident, faced all-round criticism, including from Governor M.K. Narayanan.

Leader of opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra had also accused Hakim of being involved in the incident.

Hakim, who since then has been removed as a Trinamool spokesperson, was recently greeted with black flags as he was about to enter a village for an electoral road show in Birbhum district’s Nalhati, where by-poll is scheduled Saturday.

IANS