An intense factional feud led to a pitched street battle where bombs were hurled at the Muslim-dominated Garden Reach area in southwest Kolkata Sunday night.
The battle broke out between two factions led by councillors of two adjacent wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) over distribution of biryani to the poor and pavement dwellers of Ward No. 135.
Ward 135 councillor Akhtari Nizami Shahzada that Saba Iqbal, the sister of Shams Iqbal who is the councillor of the neighbouring Ward No. 134, went around areas in his ward (No. 135) distributing biryani packets to many Friday evening.
Trinamool functionaries of Ward 135 who are loyal to Shahzada objected to Saba Iqbal telling people she was handing out biryani packets to them because Shahzada is doing nothing for them during the ongoing lockdown.
An argument broke out between Shahzada’s supporters and those accompanying Saba Iqbal, but it was brought under control after intervention by some elders of the locality.
Shahzada’s men then reportedly distributed biryani to the destitute and poor families of Ward 135 and some parts of adjoining Ward 134 Saturday evening. But Shams Iqbal’s camp spread the rumour that the biryani distributed by Shahzada’s men was made of non-halaal meat.
This led to tension brewing between the two camps from Sunday morning and broke into a full-fledged street battle the same evening. Shahzada alleged his office and residence was ransacked and some of his supporters were injured.
Trouble had been brewing between Shams Iqbal and Shahzada for quite some time over control of each others’ turf. That it would break out into street battles even when the city is under lockdown comes as no surprise.
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