TMC leader shot dead as Bengal remains on edge
TMC leader was rushed to Hooghly Imambara hospital in critical condition. He was referred to a Kolkata hospital but died on the way about three hours later, the police said.Updated: Jun 29, 2019 22:19 IST
The bloodspill that began in Bengal since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stunned Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the general elections continued on Saturday with a Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader being shot in the head close to Bandel railway station in Hooghly district, about 53 km from Kolkata, police said.
Dilip Ram (40), the husband of a TMC gram panchayat pradhan, was crossing the rail tracks near Bandel station around 9.30 am when miscreants allegedly shot him. He was a railway employee posted in Naihati in North 24 Parganas district and took a local train to work every day.
Ram was rushed to Hooghly Imambara hospital in critical condition. He was referred to a Kolkata hospital but died on the way about three hours later, the police said.
No one has been arrested so far. “Investigations are on,” said Chandannagar police commissioner Akhilesh Chaturvedi after going to the murder spot.
The ruling Trinamool has accused BJP-backed miscreants for the murder. A 24-hour shutdown has been called in the area, local Chuchura MLA Asit Majumdar said.
Trinamool’s Hoogly district chief Tapan Dasgupta said, “Ram was threatened multiple times at gunpoint by local miscreants. Chuchura MLA Majumdar had told the police that his life was under threat. BJP-backed miscreants are behind the killing. We have informed urban development minister Firhad Hakim and chief minister Mamata Banerjee about the incident.”
Both Majumdar and Dasgupta as well as Ram’s wife, Ritu Singh, alleged that Biju Paswan, a BJP-backed tough, had threatened to kill Ram recently. “Had the police taken action, Ram’s murder could have been avoided,” claimed Majumdar.
The two parties have been at loggerheads ever since the BJP bagged 18 of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in the general elections, restricting the ruling TMC to just 22.
As many as 18 lives have been lost in political violence since election results were announced on May 23.
The BJP has trashed the murder allegations and hinted that TMC infighting could be behind the killing. Locket Chatterjee, the BJP MP from Hooghly constituency, claimed, “The incident could have been the outcome of a dispute between TMC over ill-gotten wealth.”
A local BJP leader, Subir Nag, said, “The BJP does not believe in the politics of gun and violence. We are not linked to this incident.”
Nag, however, alleged that Ram had been in touch with the BJP and may have been contemplating a switch. This could be why miscreants backed by the TMC killed him, Nag claimed.
Bengal has witnessed a bitterly fought election between the TMC and the BJP, in which the latter severely jolted the ruling party by increasing its 2014 tally of two Lok Sabha seats nine times. In contrast, the TMC won 12 seats less than its 2014 tally of 34.
First Published: Jun 29, 2019 22:18 IST