Bengal on boil after 8 charred to death

Police personnel near the houses that were set on fire  at Rampurhat in Birbhum district of West Bengal on Tuesday

Police personnel near the houses that were set on fire at Rampurhat in Birbhum district of West Bengal on Tuesday


  • Panchayat leader’s murder triggers arson in Rampurhat
  • Issue rocks Bengal Assembly; Amit Shah seeks report
  • Guv says State in grip of culture of ‘violence & lawlessness’

Kolkata/New Delhi: In an alleged manifestation of intra-party feud in West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress, eight persons, including two children, were charred to death in Birbhum district on Tuesday, soon after the "murder" of a local leader of the party.

The incident triggered a political storm with the opposition BJP seeking imposition of President's Rule in the state while the TMC termed the demand as conspiracy to malign it. Opposition parties claimed that the TMC is behind the incident, a charge denied by the ruling party.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has sought a report on the violence in the next 72 hours and also decided to send a Central fact-finding team under the leadership of a joint secretary-ranked officer.

Describing the deaths as "horrific", West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar claimed that the State is in the grip of a culture of "violence and lawlessness".

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requested Dhankhar to refrain from making unwarranted statements and alleged that his comments have "political overtones" supporting other political parties to browbeat the State government.

DGP Manoj Malaviya told reporters that eight people, including two children, died in the early hours of Tuesday after their houses caught fire at Bogtui village near Rampurhat town.

The incident took place soon after the alleged murder of Trinamool Congress leader Bhadu Sheikh, deputy chief of the local panchayat, Malaviya said.

However, the DGP did not confirm it as "political violence". "We are not confirming that the fire was because of retaliation of other incidents. It is being looked into. If it was, it was due to a deep-rooted personal enmity," he said.

At least eight houses caught fire and police officers and firemen had reached the place by midnight, Malaviya said. "The situation is now under control, and a police picket was posted in the village. We are investigating how the houses caught fire and whether the incident is related to the death of the panchayat deputy chief of neighbouring Barshal village," he said.

Asked about claims by some fire brigade personnel that 10 bodies were found, the top police officer said, seven bodies were recovered after the blaze was brought under control while three injured persons were rescued, one of whom died in a hospital.

The state government formed a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by ADG (CID) Gyanwant Singh to probe the matter.

"Horrifying violence and arson orgy #Rampurhat #Birbhum indicates state is in grip of violence culture and lawlessness," the Governor tweeted as he sought an update from the Chief Secretary.

The incident triggered a fresh wave of war of words between the ruling TMC and the Opposition parties. Leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari demanded imposition of President's Rule in the State.

"The lawless situation in the state proves imposition of President's Rule is the only way to protect the state.

Our delegation will visit the area tomorrow. We will also meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the issue," he said alleging that the TMC is now killing its own people.

BJP legislators walked out of the West Bengal Assembly at the end of the first half of the day's session demanding Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee make a statement on the floor of the House on the incident.

The allegations of involvement of the TMC in this tragedy are baseless, the party's state general secretary and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.

The TMC has sent a team of three MLAs headed by minister Firhad Hakim to the village to assess the situation. CPI(M) state secretary Mohammed Salim said that the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will have to take responsibility for the deaths.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury claimed that the situation in West Bengal has been deteriorating and it's ideal for the imposition of Article 355 of the Constitution.

Show Full Article
Print Article
Next Story
More Stories