Kolkata: Facing massive criticism over the arson that killed 10 people in ruling TMC’s stronghold Birbhum, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said she will visit Bogtui village in Rampurhat, where the incident occurred, on Thursday.
“I will visit the spot tomorrow. I would have gone today only but came to know that some leaders are visiting the place. So I didn’t go today to avoid any confrontation with them,” Mamata said on Wednesday.
Though Mamata’s trusted lieutenant and TMC’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal blamed “short circuit” for the arson, the Bengal CM said investigations will be conducted to punish the culprits.
Crying foul at the same time, she said, “Why shall we indulge in violence while we are running the government? These incidents are done by people who are not in government.”
“We have taken steps. We will investigate the matter and punish the culprits. We strongly condemn the incident,” the TMC supremo said and added, “Action will be taken without seeing any colour. The only colour is humanity,” she said.
Deputy chief of the ruling Trinamool Congress (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.
After visiting the scene, Birbhum SP Nagendranath Tripathi said a forensic team will investigate the cause behind the house fire, while 20 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.
Opposition lashes out at Mamata govt
Slamming the government, West Bengal Leader of Opposition (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari sought intervention from the central government. He is on way to Rampurhat with a delegation of the BJP MLAs on Wednesday. Adhikari has also demanded the President’s rule in the state, which has been ruled by the TMC since 2011.
Condemning the police inaction in the entire incident, West Bengal CPI-M state secretary Md. Salim said, “It is a clear cut violence. A massacre. Police are in collusion (with TMC goons). In Birbhum, all attacks on the Opposition (in the past) took place under the supervision of police.”
Pledging to draw the President’s attention towards the incident, Congress Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury slammed the TMC government saying, “TMC will collapse in the fire which was lit by Mamata Banerjee herself.”
“The state is moving towards President’s rule,” he added.
India Blooms News Service