Many Claimed Dead in Post-poll Violence in Bengal, Centre, Guv Seek Report; BJP Chief to Visit State
West Bengal was in the throes of widespread violence on Monday that allegedly left several BJP workers dead and injured in clashes, and shops being looted, prompting the Union Home Ministry to seek a factual report from the state government on incidents of attack on opposition workers. Videos of arson at a BJP office with bamboo poles and roof tiles burning amid worried cries of people running away from the premises were shared by the party. Photos of dead men, and people scampering with apparel looted from a shop were everywhere on social media.
BJP claimed at least six of its workers and supporters including a woman was killed in attacks the party blamed on the TMC. The BJP shared a video with journalists showing a ransacked party office in Nandigram where piles of documents, posters, and broken furniture lay scattered everywhere. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had Sunday lost the seat to her former lieutenant-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned state Home Secretary, DGP and Kolkata Commissioner of Police and directed them to restore peace. He discussed with them the situation following the incidents that took place a day after the ruling TMC returned to power with an overwhelming majority crushing the BJP.
“ACS Home @HomeBengal who was called by me in wake of rising post poll violence in State has been directed to submit report on post poll violence and vandalism in State & steps taken,” Dhankhar tweeted after meeting Home Secretary H K Dwivedi. He also separately met DGP P Nirajnayan and Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra and directed them to restore law and order.
“DGP West Bengal Police and Commissioner of Kolkata Police summoned by me in the wake of continually rising post poll incidents of arson, looting and violence as also killings in the state were indicated of alarming scenario. Called upon them to take all steps to restore law and order,” he added. “MHA has asked West Bengal Government for a report on the post-election violence targeting opposition political workers in the state,” a spokesperson tweeted.
Meanwhile, BJP national president JP Nadda will be in the state on a 2-day visit to meet the affected families of the party workers.
BJP National President Shri @JPNadda will be visiting West Bengal on 4-5May, in view of the wide spread post results retributive violence unleashed on BJP workers and supporters by criminal elements in the TMC cadre.He will be visiting families of the affected karyakartas.
— BJP (@BJP4India) May 3, 2021
The BJP has also announced a nationwide protest on May 5 against the violence took place in West Bengal.
The BJP has announced a nationwide dharna on 5th May against the widespread violence unleashed by TMC workers post the election results in West Bengal.This protest will be held following all Covid protocols across all organisational mandals of the BJP.
— BJP (@BJP4India) May 3, 2021
Banerjee, meanwhile, urged her supporters to maintain peace amid reports of violence and asked them not to fall prey to provocations. The central forces committed many atrocities on TMC supporters during the elections, she alleged.
“Even after the results were announced, BJP attacked our supporters in certain areas but we ask our men not to get provoked and instead report to the police,” she told a press conference. BJP national spokesman Anil Baluni said, before being killed a BJP worker was on Facebook live twice to say even animals and children were not being spared by the attackers.
He also shared pictures of people with massive cuts on head and unconscious men lying with bandages wrapped around their limbs. A video showed young men running away with clothes looted from a shop named ‘Hong Kong Fashion’. The faces of some of them were smeared with green colour, and a voice, apparently of the man shooting it, gleefully said “Yehi hona chahiye tha…hum to mijaz bana rahe the. (This should have happened. I was preparing for it).
Another video clip showed a group of burqa clad women standing outside the shop, shouting angrily and asking “yeh Mamata raj hai ki goonda raj hai (is it the rule of Mamata (Banerjee) or the rule of hooligans?” One of them said her brother ran ‘Hong Kong Fashion’ and worked for the BJP. “It was his choice, why should anyone stop him? People should be free to be with anyone, vote for anyone-TMC or BJP,” she said as some other women joined her and were seen raging against the perpetrators much of which was not comprehensible.
TMC Says Three Party Workers Killed
The Trinamool Congress claimed three of its supporters were killed by the BJP, which rejected the allegations, saying the incidents were the result of “people’s resistance”.
A few TMC supporters were on the way to Nabagram in the Jamalpur police station area on their motorcycles in the afternoon when they were allegedly attacked in Odishapara by BJP workers, local sources said. They were thrashed and their bikes vandalised, the TMC alleged.
The injured were taken to different hospitals for treatment. Shahjahan Shah (38) and Bibhash Bag (30) were declared dead when taken to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital. Kakali Khsetrapal (47) was declared dead when taken to the Jamalpur Hospital, local sources said.
The TMC claimed Shahjahan and Bibhash were their supporters. TMC block president Mehmood Khan said, “BJP workers carried out the attack in a planned manner. They are taking to violence in different places.”
Police said 23 people have been detained in connection with the incident and a huge contingent of central forces have been deployed in the area. An officer of Jamalpur police station said the situation was under control.