Kolkata: At least 10 people have been burned to death as several houses in a village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district were allegedly set on fire following the death of a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader on Monday night.
According to reports, deputy chief of TMC-ruled Barshal village panchayat, Bhadu Sheikh, was killed after five unidentified miscreants had hurled crude bombs at him at Bogtui village in Birbhum’s Rampurhat on Monday night.
After the TMC leader’s death was confirmed by a local hospital, tension erupted at Bogtui village and multiple houses in the area were allegedly ransacked and set on fire.
A state fire and emergency services official said three charred bodies had been recovered on Monday late night from a house.
Later on Tuesday morning, after dousing the blaze, firemen recovered seven more charred bodies from a burnt house.
Sources in the local hospital said there were several children and women among the victims.
A senior official of West Bengal police force said the state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will investigate the matter while a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by ADG CID Gyanwant Singh has already been formed.
“CID team along with the SIT officials are on their way to the scene,” the official said.
“An hour after the news of the murder of TMC leader Bahadur Sheikh last night, 7-8 nearby houses were set on fire. 11 people arrested in this regard. The concerned SDPO and Rampurhat Incharge have been removed from their post,” Manoj Malviya, WB DGP told news agency ANI on the Birbhum incident.
After visiting the scene, Birbhum SP Nagendranath Tripathi said a forensic team will investigate the cause behind the house fire, while 15 people have been arrested so far.
A senior state police official said the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the local police station and local SDPO have been ‘closed’ from duties.
While leaders of the opposition parties called the incident a “mass killing”, TMC’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal claimed that the fire had started in those houses at Bogtui village due to a short circuit in a television set.
State minister Firhad Hakim said he will visit the village later today.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly Suvendu Adhikari said there’s a rapid freefall of law and order in the state. “Law & order in a rapid freefall in WB. Tension & terror has gripped Rampurhat area of Birbhum district, after a panchayat upoprodhan (deputy chief); Bhadu Sheik was reportedly killed last evening in a bomb attack. Angry mob ransacked and set afire several houses afterwards.”
He wants immediate intervention of Home Minister Amit Shah. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “
The nightlong barbarity has lead to the death of at least 12 people till now; mostly women. Charred bodies are being recovered as of now. Administrative cover-up has already begun with attempts being made to lower the body count. IMMEDIATE CENTRAL INTERVENTION REQUIRED,” tagging Amit Shah and Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
India Blooms News Service