Court in Bengal orders second autopsy of BJP workers killed in Siliguri
A court in Jalpaiguri on Tuesday evening ordered a second autopsy to find the cause of death of a BJP supporter who, police said died of shotgun injuries during the party’s protest rally in north Bengal’s Siliguri on Monday.
Earlier in the morning, the West Bengal Police had claimed that 50-year-old Ulen Roy who died during a pitched battle between the police and BJP workers at Siliguri, was killed with a shotgun that local law enforcement agencies do not use.
The post mortem examination was conducted on Monday night. The Bengal police described the incident as “unprecedented” and said armed men were present in the BJP’s rally to incite violence.
“As per the PM (post mortem examination) report “death was due to the effects of shotgun injuries.” Police do not use shotguns. It’s obvious that during yesterday’s protest in Siliguri, armed persons were brought and they fired from firearms,” the West Bengal Police said in a tweet around 10.30 am.
Roy died shortly after he was rushed to a local private hospital. Police used tear gas and water cannons to stop two BJP processions from moving towards Uttar Kanya, the secretariat building in north Bengal.
The BJP refused to accept the statement of the police and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI). The party also demanded a second autopsy which the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Jalpaiguri, ordered in the evening. In its order, the court said the autopsy has to be done by December 11. The body was kept at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital where the first autopsy was conducted.
Without naming the BJP, the police had accused it of allowing armed protesters in the rally.
“The deceased received pellet injuries from a shotgun fired from close range by a person standing near the deceased in the protest program. This is unprecedented. Bringing armed persons in protest programs and inciting them to fire is unheard off,” said the state police.
“There was a malafide intention to create violence by the use of firearms. CID West Bengal has been asked to investigate. Truth will come out and strong action will be taken against all those who planned and executed the heinous crime,” the police said in a third tweet.
The tweets drew immediate criticism from BJP leaders who were observing bandh in Siliguri and alleging since morning that the post mortem examination was done at night to hide something. BJP workers refused to receive Roy’s body and demanded a second examination in the presence of three doctors. The second examination should be recorded on video, they said. The chief judicial magistrate, Jalpaiguri, accepted both these demands. The petition was moved by Roy’s family.
“The first autopsy report confirmed our allegation that the police used firearms and Roy was shot by them. The allegation being made against us is ridiculous because Roy was shot in the chest while approaching the police barricades. Had someone in the procession shot him, the injuries would have been found on his back,” said BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu, who is stationed in Siliguri.
“We will not stop till the truth is revealed. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government has come down to killing our workers because the ruling party knows that its days are numbered,” said Basu, referring to the assembly polls due in about five months. The BJP won seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats in the north Bengal region in 2019.
As Roy’s death snowballed into a major issue, chief minister Mamata Banerjee defended the police while addressing an administrative meeting at Ranigunj in West Burdwan district on Tuesday afternoon.
“BJP is killing its own people with pellets and blaming the police. Police do not use these (shotguns). The media should not encourage this,” she said.
State panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee alleged that BJP workers were carrying several shotguns.
“One of these killed the man. He was carrying a shotgun too. The police never lost patience. They only chased away the troublemakers. The CID will find out the truth,” he said.
Monday’s rally was attended by the BJP’s senior central and state leaders such as Tejasvi Surya, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Arvind Menon and Dilip Ghosh who demanded a judicial inquiry into Roy’s death. The party called a 12-hour bandh in the north Bengal region on Tuesday protesting the death and the force used by police.
“We will not spare the policemen responsible for Rai’s death. They will go to jail,” Vijayvargiya, BJP’s national general secretary, said after the incident.