Mamata's minister beaten up, held hostage for 8 hours

PoliceNure Alam Chowdhury was assaulted and kept confined by a mob of villagers for over eight hours. (IE Photo)

West Bengal Animal Resources Minister Nure Alam Chowdhury (inset) was assaulted and kept confined by a mob of villagers for over eight hours at a college in Rampurhat in Birbhum district over a disputed land.

The former High Court judge was injured but could not be taken to a hospital as he had been held up in a room of the college since 11.30 am and a mob laid siege to the college, Superintendent of Police C Sudhakar said.

The dispute arose a couple of years ago when a mosque allegedly encroached into a land, owned by a trust headed by Chowdhury at Dokhalbati village on the outskirts of Rampurhat where Asleha Girls' College is situated. The college is named after Asleha Beghum, the mother of the minister.

The minister,who represents Murarai Assembly constituency in the district, was released at 8 pm after prolonged negotiations by district administration with authorities of the College and the mosque.

Additional District Magistrate Bidhan Roy, who held the negotiations, said, "It has been decided to hold a meeting in Suri on September 8 to sort out the problem." Chowdhury was brought to Suri circuit house after his release.

After the minister came to attend a meeting of the college, a large mob attacked him and beat him up. It was being alleged that the mob gathered there after an announcement through public address system that the minister had come to demolish the mosque.

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