West Bengal: Violence in Birbhum district over cut money, 9 arrested

Clashes erupted on Wednesday between two groups of villagers in West Bengals Birbhum district over the issue of cut money, prompting the police to increase vigil in the area and arrest nine persons, sources in the administration said. Crude bombs were hurled indiscriminately by the two sides at Sahapur village in Sadaipur police station area near Siuri, with the locals claiming that the miscreants were supporters of the ruling TMC and the BJP, they said. Police officers, too, came under attack while trying to stop the clash, the sources claimed. According to local people, a group of villagers on Tuesday evening agitated before TMC leader Enamul Haques residence, demanding the return of cut money which they had allegedly given to get benefits under government schemes. Also read: A huge contingent of armed forces has been rushed to Sahapur village in the wake of the clashes, Birbhum Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh said. Nine persons have been arrested in connection with the clashes. The situation is now under control, but police are maintaining a strict vigil in the area, he added. Cut money is the commission charged illegally from common people by alleged TMC functionaries in return for delivery of services and benefits under government schemes. The issue has rocked the state over the past few weeks after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee issued a diktat asking party leaders to return the cut money they had taken from people.