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CBI names 21 accused in Bengal’s Birbhum massacre case

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Kolkata: The central investigating agency, CBI has named 21 people as accused in the Birbhum violence, in which eight people were beaten and charred to death earlier this week, triggering political furore. The list of accused is the same as that of the state police, sources said.

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As per reports, as many as 20 people have been arrested after six women and two children -mostly members of a single family- were locked in their homes and burnt alive by an angry mob at the Bogtui village near Birbhum’s Rampurhat town earlier this week. The attack was allegedly in retaliation to the murder of a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, Bhadu Sheikh, who died in a bomb attack.

The CBI team has set up a temporary camp at a government guest house in Rampurhat. Led by senior officer Akhilesh Singh, the team has now split up and investigating the case.

The CBI has to file a status report on its investigation by April 7 in the Calcutta High Court, which ordered a probe by the Central agency on Friday. The court – which took up the case suo motu – had earlier denied the Mamata Banerjee government’s request not to hand over the investigation to the CBI.

In response to the political backlash over the killings, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had alleged that “something big” was behind the incident.

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“I never believed something so barbaric can happen in modern Bengal. Mothers and children were killed. Your family members died but it is my heart that was crushed,” Mamata Banerjee said, surrounded by the family members and relatives of those killed, besides villagers. Alleging a bigger conspiracy, she called for “stringent action” and said the police would investigate all angles.

At least 20 people have been arrested by the local police in connection with the incident. Two officers of the local police have been removed on grounds of negligence.

Alleging that the Trinamool Congress was involved in the murders, the state’s opposition BJP had demanded a central investigation. The party also called for President’s Rule in the state.

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