BJP, TMC workers' killing in West Bengal triggers fresh face-off between parties

PTI Kolkata, West Bengal, India Oct 22, 2018, 08.04 PM(IST)

Party cadres of Trinamool Congress clashed with BJP supporters injuring several on both sides including senior leaders of BJP. Photograph:( Others )

The killing of a BJP and a TMC worker in two separate incidents in Birbhum district of West Bengal has triggered a fresh round of battle between the two parties with both blaming each other for the killings.

The body of BJP worker Tapas Bagdi was found hanging from a tree in Dwaraka village of Birbhum district, while TMC block president Dipak Ghosh was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the Khayrasole area of the same district Sunday night, police said.

Bagdi's family members said he had left the house after lunch. As he did not return home by night, his family started searching for him and found the body hanging from a tree.

The BJP Birbhum district leadership claimed Bagdi was a party worker.

Ananda Bagdi, father of the deceased, lodged a complaint at the Labhpur police station against five local TMC workers alleging that they killed his son, police said.

The district TMC leaders denied the allegations and said, "Our workers were not at all involved in this case."

Superintendent of Police (SP), Birbhum, Kunal Agarwal said the cause of Bagdi's death would be known only after a postmortem.

"We are now treating it as a case of unnatural death. We don't know whether the person was affiliated to any political party," the SP said.

On the Dipak Ghosh murder case, the SP said seven people have been detained for interrogation.

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the TMC had let loose a "reign of terror" across the state and was trying to annihilate BJP workers.

"The TMC is trying to kill our party workers. Our party workers are either harassed, threatened or killed just because they are associated with the BJP. This is really shameful," he said.

The incident brought back memories of two BJP workers found hanging in West Bengal's Purulia district on June 2 and May 31, respectively, just after the panchayat polls concluded in the state.

The central BJP unit had hold nation-wide agitations to protest against the killing of two Dalit workers. BJP national president Amit Shah had also held a rally in Purulia to protest against the killing and had called for defeating the TMC in the state.

TMC Khayrasole block president Dipak Ghosh who was shot at Sunday night by unidentified persons passed away at a private hospital Monday, police said.

Ghosh was riding a motorcycle with a party worker when unidentified persons fired at him near Khayrasole village. Ghosh received bullet injuries to his shoulder and the lower parts of the body.

Birbhum district TMC president Anubrata Mondal alleged that goons hired by the BJP attacked Ghosh.

BJP district president Ramkrishna Roy denied the allegations and claimed that the killing was a result of the TMC's infighting.

Roy's views were endorsed by BJP state president Ghosh who claimed that Birbhum district had over the years turned into a battlefield due to the TMC's infighting.

"The allegations against our party are completely baseless. The TMC leadership should first answer why so many incidents are being reported regularly about infighting within the party," he said.

Senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim termed the allegations of infighting as baseless and accused the BJP of killing TMC workers in the state.

"Just for the sake of power, the BJP is trying spread violence in various parts of the state. They are trying to terrorise us by killing our party workers. But we are soldiers of Mamata Banerjee and we won't let the divisive politics of the BJP succeed in the state," Hakim said.