BJP supporter shot, at least 17 hurt in fresh Bengal clashes
The post-poll violence in West Bengal continued when a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter was allegedly shot by miscreants at Baghua village in West Bengal’s Jhargram district in the early hours of Sunday, even as a 24-hour bandh was called by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Churchura area over a TMC leader’s murder on Saturday.
At least 17 people were injured in separate sporadic clashes in Jhargram, East Burdwan and West Midnapore districts of Bengal since Saturday night, local officials said.
The ruling TMC and BJP workers have clashed at several places in the state since the Lok Sabha elections results were announced on May 23, in which the BJP’s vote share was just three percentage points less than of the TMC. In an advisory sent to Bengal government, the home ministry had said that 26 people have been killed in 2019 in poll-related violence with the number of incidents reported more than double of 509 in 2016. Police said that Khagapati Mahato, 20, was shot in the chest from close range while returning from a religious programme at Jhargram. He was shifted to a hospital in Kolkata on Sunday.
A 20-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter was shot at in West Bengal’s Jhargram district on Saturday as political violence continued in the state.
Police said Khagapati Mahato was shot in his chest from a close range while he was returning from a religious programme. He was shifted to a government hospital in Kolkata on Sunday. His father, Rajani Mahato, alleged two ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters attacked his son.
BJP’s Jhargram district president, Sukhmay Satpathi, said the two supporters have criminal records. “We demanded action but the police have done nothing,” said Satpathi.
TMC leader Prasun Sarangi dismissed the allegation. “Politics has nothing to do with this. The attack is the fallout of personal enmity,” he said. Police said the accused were on the run.
Seven people were separately injured in a clash between TMC and BJP workers at Maricha in West Midnapore district on Saturday night.
Local TMC leader Paresh Bar said the BJP attacked his party’s workers while they were holding a meeting. BJP leader Biswajit Rana denied the charges. He added two BJP supporters were injured in an attack for which he blamed TMC workers.
In East Burdwan district, at least 10 men were injured in a clash between the TMC and BJP supporters. BJP leader Manohar Kazi alleged the TMC supporters attacked his party’s workers for protesting against corruption.
Local TMC leader Apurba Choudhury blamed goons for the violence. He said the Communist Party of India (Marxists) once backed the goons, who are now working for the BJP. “A police contingent has been deployed at the spot,” said subdivisional police officer Tridib Sarkar.
TMC assembly member Udayan Guha’s car was allegedly vandalised on Sunday at Dinhata in Cooch Behar. “BJP supporters carried out the attack,” said Guha.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said Guha is the victim of the TMC’s infighting.
The TMC and BJP have blamed each other for the political violence, which has continued since the conclusion of the April-May national polls.