BJP protests in Kolkata (Photo Source: PTI)
Amid raging heat over Saturday's violence in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali region, a group of BJP workers were on Sunday stopped by the state police while taking the bodies of its workers to Kolkata from Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district. Four BJP workers were allegedly shot dead and several others severely injured by Trinamool Congress members during a clash between the two parties in Basirhat’s Sandeshkhali area on Saturday. While three bodies were recovered this afternoon, several others remained missing till the date.
In the meantime, security forces' attempt to stop the BJP leaders led to heated exchange of words between the two sides, following which the Saffron party started raising slogans against the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal. The BJP leadership later decided to take the bodies to the village of the two slain party workers.
West Bengal: Security forces stop BJP leaders in Basirhat while they were taking the remains of the deceased BJP workers to party office. pic.twitter.com/8xZzwRw0cT— ANI (@ANI) June 9, 2019
Talking about the prevailing conditions in the state, BJP general secretary Rahul Sinha told ANI, "I have spoken to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi, who has assured me that he will speak to senior officials. Police couldn't prevent the murders and are now stopping us from cremating the bodies".
"We have been stopped at three places. I have already assured that there will be no marches. We will peacefully take the bodies to the party office so that others can pay their tribute before their cremation at the designated place," Sinha said.
"We are also ready to proceed further under police cordon. What kind of rule is this? Democracy is being strangulated in this state," he added.
Locket Chatterjee, the BJP MP from Hooghly, has threatened that the last rites will be done on the roads if the police don't allow them to move forward.
Locket Chatterjee, BJP MP from Hooghly in Basirhat: Families of the deceased want to take the remains to party office but Mamata's police are stopping us saying that last rites will be held in village. If police don't leave then last rites will be done here on road. #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/kVaEAMJCds— ANI (@ANI) June 9, 2019
In the wake of this massive unrest, the Centre sent an dvisory to the West Bengal government, expressing "deep concern" over the continuing violence and asked it to maintain the law and order. The deaths took place on Saturday during a clash between workers of the two parties in the city of North 24 Parganas. Violence broke out after Trinamool Congress workers allegedly removed the flags with the BJP's 'lotus' symbol from a building in Sandeshkhali.
Chief Medical Officer of Basirhat D Mukherjee said bodies of three persons were brought to Basirhat Hospital Saturday night. The bodies have been identified as that of Sukanta Mondal, Pradip Mondal and Kayoom Mollah. While Sukanta and Pradip were BJP supporters, TMC leaders said Kayoom was an active worker of their party.
State BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu on Saturday said three party workers - Sukanta Mondal, Pradip Mondal and Shankar Mondal - were shot dead, while state minister Jyotipriyo Mallick maintained that Trinamool Congress worker Kayoom Mollah was killed in the clash. Shankar Mondal and Debdas Mondal of Bhangipara village are missing, local BJP leaders claimed. However, the police and the district administration have remained tight-lipped about the incident and have not made any statement on the number of deaths.
(With inputs from agencies)