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CBI names 21 accused in Birbhum violence case that killed eight including women, children

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Kolkata: In the Birbhum violence case of West Bengal, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named 21 accused under Section 147, 148, 149, and other Sections in FIR on suspected offence of armed rioting. Earlier on Saturday (March 26), a CBI team reached Bogtui village in Birbhum district and began its investigation into the violence that claimed eight lives. Director-General of Police (DGP) West Bengal, Manoj Malviya on Friday informed that 11 arrests have been made in the case so far.

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Unidentified people had on March 21 set 10 houses on fire in the village, killing at least eight people, including women and children.
The CBI team, consisting of around 20 members, went inside the house where charred bodies of seven people were found. “We are starting the investigation today. We have to conduct the probe on a war-footing as we have a deadline to meet,” said the CBI official.

Preliminary inquiry reveals that the killings came as a retaliation for the murder of TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh. His followers and associates reportedly ransacked the houses of the persons and set fire to the houses with a view to kill the persons inside, as a result of which people were charred to death. Earlier, TMC’s district president Anubrata Mondal had said that the fire could have been because of a short circuit. But the CBI’s FIR rules out his claims.

The Calcutta High Court on Friday handed over the investigation into the Birbhum killings to the CBI and set a deadline of April 7 to submit its progress report. The team is led by deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Akhilesh Singh and also includes Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) experts, who also visited the gutted houses and started collecting samples.

A total of eight people were burnt to death in the Rampurhat area of West Bengal`s Birbhum on Tuesday after a mob allegedly set houses on fire following the killing of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Bhadu Sheikh. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went to Bagtui village on Thursday to meet the kin of those killed in the violence. On Friday, the Calcutta HC directed the SIT formed by the West Bengal government to hand over case papers and accused persons arrested by it to the central probe agency. The Court had also directed the state government to install CCTV cameras for round-the-clock surveillance. Following this direction, CCTV cameras have been installed in the violence-affected area of Rampurhat.

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Also, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had sought a detailed report from the West Bengal government over the arson incident. The move came after a nine-member delegation of BJP MPs from West Bengal met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and sought his intervention and action against the perpetrators involved in the crime.

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