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Protests erupt in West Bengal after murder of BJP leader

BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya  

The murder of BJP councilor Manish Shukla in Barrackpore subdivision of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas late on Sunday triggered protests and hectic political activity in the district and State capital Kolkata on Monday. Mr. Shukla was shot dead late in the evening by unidentified men on a motorbike close to the Titagarh police station.

While the BJP’s 12-hour bandh call in Barrackpore saw clashes between party workers and the police, leading to baton charges and tear gas firing, Kolkata saw protests and confrontation between BJP leaders and the police through the day. 

At the State-run Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College in Kolkata where Mr. Shukla’s body was brought for a postmortem, scuffles broke out between police and BJP workers as several party leaders including Kaliash Vijayvargiya, and MPs Arjun Singh and Locket Chatterjee arrived. The leaders were allowed to enter the hospital only after a few hours. 

Later in the evening, the BJP leadership wanted to take Mr. Shukla’s body to the Raj Bhawan but the police refused permission. After further protests and scuffles with the police, a delegation of party leaders including Mr. Shukla’s father, were allowed to meet Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

“There were 19 bullets in his body. The incident occurred in front of a police station and weapons used for the crime are mostly used by police. We demanded that a probe by CBI should be initiated in the crime,” Mr Singh, the MP from Barrackpore, said after meeting the Governor.

Speaking to journalists Mr. Vijayvargiya called the killing a “ political murder” and said people of the State will give a fitting reply to the Trinamool Congress government in the next Assembly elections.

“Had Manish not been killed in public, the police would have called it a case of suicide. In West Bengal the police is a magician that turns political murders into suicide,” he said.

Governor apprised

Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay met Governor Dhankhar after he issued summons to senior administrative officials to apprise him of the law and order situation. After the meeting, the Governor said “political violence and targeted killings must stop”.

“Conveyed my concern of the present alarming scenario @MamataOfficial to the new Chief Secretary. Am sure Chief Minister would be indicated all these critical aspects that run down democratic governance and lawlessness. Political violence and targeted killings must stop,” Mr Dhankhar said on social media.

‘Probing all angles’

The West Bengal police said it was looking into all possible reasons including personal enmity and also warned that “irresponsible comments on social media [were] tantamount to interference in the investigation”.

Taking to social media, the West Bengal police said: “A person was shot dead last evening in Titagarh area of Barrackpore. Police is investigating the crime and looking into all possible reasons including personal enmity because the victim was accused in some cases of murder and attempt of murder.” 

The case is likely to be taken over by the State’s Criminal Investigation Department ( CID).

The deceased BJP leader was a councilor and member of BJP’s organisational unit for Barrackpore district. He was a close associate of Barrackpore BJP MP Arjun Singh, who defected from the Trinamool Congress ahead of the 2019 general election. The Barrackpore subdivision has been on boil since then. 

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 12:06:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-leader-shot-dead-in-west-bengal-vijayvargiya-demands-cbi-inquiry/article32769006.ece

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