At least eight people were charred to death at Rampurhat in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Tuesday following numerous fire and bombing incidents, hours after a deputy gram pradhan of the Trinamool Congress was killed in a bomb attack, as per the sources. The police said he was a resident of Bogtui.
While local sources claimed ten people had died, police confirmed only seven deaths. The police said they are yet to find out the reason of the fires and said that an investigation has been initiated.
Eight charred bodies were found
Eight charred bodies have been recovered. We are investigating, “said superintendent of police Nagendranath Tripathi. A huge police contingent has been deployed in the area.
The state government has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by the additional director general of police (CID), Gyanwant Singh, to probe the incident. “Whether it’s arson or a short circuit in the cylinder blast that caused the incident is being probed,” said an official.
“Every death is an unfortunate one. Whether it is a separate incident or connected to the death of the leader who was killed hours before can’t be determined right now. Let me first visit the spot, “said state minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim.
Sources said Bhadu Sheikh, 38, the deputy pradhan (TMC) of Barishal Gram Panchayat under Rampurhat block 1, was standing near the Bogtui crossing late in the evening when four assailants came riding on two motorcycles and lobbed crude bombs at him. Sheikh received a grievous injury and was taken to Rampurhat government hospital where he was declared dead.
Five houses set on fire
Several bombs were hurled and five houses were set on fire after the incident at Bogtui, said sources. They claimed three bodies were recovered on Monday night and seven on Tuesday.
Anubrata Mondal, TMC Birbhum district president, said the police would nab the killers of Sheikh. “Footage of security cameras installed around the crime scene is being examined,” said Mondal.
TMC claims no political connections.
TMC’s spokesperson, Kunal Ghosh, claimed that the incident was not connected to politics. The deaths due to the fire incident in Rampurhat are unfortunate. But it has got nothing to do with politics.
It is a local conflict. Yesterday, TMC’s deputy gram pradhan was killed. He was popular. People were angry. The fire incident took place a few hours after the incident at night. The police and fire officials are taking action, “said Ghosh.
Some locals alleged the houses were set on fire during attacks by members of a faction of the TMC. Anubrata Mondal, the party’s district unit president, claimed on Tuesday that the houses caught fire because of a short circuit.
He denied allegations of infighting and retaliatory attacks. The villagers died when their houses caught fire because of the short circuit. There was no violence last night. Mondal said footage from cameras installed around the crime scene was being examined.
A fire destroys ten houses.
Fire brigade personnel, who did not want to be identified, said they found at least 10 houses on fire. “We were stopped by local people from dousing the fire. We recovered seven bodies from one house. These were charred so badly that we could not make out whether the victims were men, women, or minors, “said a fire brigade staffer.
Police superintendent Nagendra Nath Tripathi, who rushed to the spot, said only a forensic examination could ascertain the cause of the fire. Seven bodies were found in one house. These have been sent for postmortem. I cannot say anything more before the matter is investigated. “
CID rushes to the spot.
A Criminal Investigation Department (CID) team was also being rushed to the spot. The CID was expected to take over the probe.
A police contingent rushed to the scene and cordoned it off. Minister Firhad Hakim and TMC legislator Ashis Banerjee were rushing to the spot.
Four masked men on motorcycles attacked Sheikh, eyewitnesses told police. He was declared dead at a local hospital. The attack was said to be the result of a feud between two factions of the ruling party. Several houses were also ransacked after the murder.
Several political murders after municipal polls
Two newly-elected councillors of TMC and Congress were shot dead in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas and Purulia districts on March 13, days after the municipal polls on February 27. Four people have so far been arrested in the two murder cases.
A police officer said Bhadu Sheikh’s brother, Babar Sheikh, was shot dead a year ago in the same village. Anarul Hossain, a block unit president of the TMC, said he asked party workers to remain calm and not to indulge in any act of reprisal.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leader Samik Bhattacharya called for the imposition of the President’s rule in the state. Barbaric attacks of this nature used to take place in the Middle Ages. The law and order situation in the state has collapsed. This sort of situation calls for the President’s rule. “
SIT to probe the matter.
The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has formed a three-member special investigation team to probe the deaths of seven people who were allegedly set on fire to avenge the death of a Trinamool leader.
The incident occurred early on Tuesday, March 22, in the Rampurhat area of Birbhum district. A group of miscreants allegedly locked up five houses with the residents inside and set them on fire. Local sources said they were set on fire to avenge the murder of a Trinamool Congress leader.
Taking cognisance of the incident, the state government has formed a three-member special investigation team, comprising senior officers Gyanwant Singh, Miraj Khalid, and Sanjay Singh. The officer in charge of Rampurhat Police Station and the SDPO have been suspended.
The truth will be unveiled after the probe. But the death of at least eight to 10 people in this way is really a gloomy picture. The state government should step forward and pacify the victims’ kin. They need full support for their survival.