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The attack on a panchayat worker at Debipur in Murshidabad district allegedly by a group of Trinamool Congress workers who nearly chopped off his ear for failing to report to office on Thursday, the first day of the trade unions' nationwide strike, sparked an outrage across the country and Bengal in particular. But the Trinamool Congress ministers and MPs close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seemed unperturbed by the brutality of the incident.
As the news came, Trinamool's Rajya Sabha MP and quiz master Derek O'Brien completely denied the incident on his twitter
handle — Derek O'Brien@quizderek. In his first tweet about the incident he wrote that locals "roughed up" the pradhan for not coming to office and denied any hand of Trinamool cadres. An hour later, he tweeted again. This time he denied that the panchayat worker's ear was chopped off and blamed media for spreading "rumours".
As if this was not enough, Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee, considered Chief Minister's close lieutenant, refused to take question from the mediapersons about the incident as he termed the attack on Hajrat Omar a "small incident". "You should remember that when we call a press conference, we try to uphold the positive and good work of the government. You better get the reaction on these small incidents after I conclude this press conference. Please take note of my reaction on the bigger issues of strikes and shutdowns," he said when asked for a reaction on the incident.
But throughout the day, strong words of condemnation against the attack kept pouring in from the entire political spectrum, be the Congress, BJP and the Left. Some termed it as "barbaric" and a "Taliban-type" act. Left Front chairman Biman Bose squarely blamed the incident on the Chief Minister's "provocative statements". "The Chief Minister's provocative statements have led to such barbaric attacks, which we condemn," Bose said. He said a headmaster of a school at Hariharpara in Murshidabad district was also attacked by Trinamool workers.