Two Bengal BJP workers killed in 24 hrs, three held amid stir

Updated on Dec 13, 2020 11:16 PM IST

President of a BJP polling booth-level committee at Halishahar in North 24 Parganas district and three others were attacked by about a dozen men when BJP workers were visiting voters to carry out the party’s outreach programme in the Barendragali area.

Image for representation.
Image for representation.
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | By

Saikat Bhawal, president of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) polling booth-level committee at Halishahar in North 24 Parganas district, was killed in an attack by motorcycle-borne men on Saturday evening, police said.

Bhawal and three others were attacked by about a dozen men when BJP workers were visiting voters to carry out the party’s outreach programme in the Barendragali area.

Three men were arrested on Sunday morning in connection with the murder.

In a second incident reported on Sunday morning, body of Sukhendu Pramanik, a BJP worker, was fished out of a pond at Chandpara village in the Purbasthali area of East Burdwan district.

Pramanik’s family and local BJP workers alleged that he went missing two days ago after taking part in a rally held by the party’s youth wing. The party alleged that Pramanik was murdered and the body was later dumped in the pond.

“We have registered a case of unnatural death. A probe is on,” an officer of the Purbasthali police station said on condition of anonymity.

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At Halishahar, Bhawal was allegedly beaten up with the wooden handle of a shovel. He and three others were rushed to JN Memorial Hospital at Kalyani in adjoining Nadia district. Bhawal died at the hospital. The FIR was registered at Bijpur police station.

“Four people were named in the police complaint. Three of them were arrested in the morning and charged with murder, attempt to murder, assault and criminal conspiracy. They will be produced before the Barrackpore court in the afternoon,” an officer of Bijpur police station said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to brief the media.

“The three arrested men faced criminal charges in the past,” the officer added.

Bengal BJP vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of targeting his party’s leaders and workers and carrying out well-planned attacks. “Both these workers were victims of political violence. We urge the Centre to take necessary action so that Bengalis can live safely like citizens in other states,” said Majumdar who led the funeral procession with Bhawal’s body on Sunday evening.

Parliamentary affairs minister Tapas Roy said, “All deaths are unfortunate. But the BJP has started passing off all deaths as killings by the TMC. They also demand CBI probe at the drop of a hat. The state police will definitely find out the truth.”

Partha Bhowmik, TMC legislator from Naihati, said his party was not at all involved in the attack at Halishahar. “The violence was the outcome of an internal feud between two local groups,” said Bhowmik.

BJP has claimed that more than 120 of its workers and leaders have been murdered in West Bengal in recent years. The party started an agitation outside Bijpur police station on Sunday, condemning Bhawal’s murder.

Although the agitation started peacefully, the BJP workers got into a scuffling with policemen around noon. They broke through barricades and surrounded the Bijpur police station compound.

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