Patanu Mondol, brother of a Gram Panchayat member from the BJP in West Bengal, Utpal Mondol, was murdered at Malda on Thursday. Mondol was allegedly shot dead by miscreants from Trinamool after barging into his home.
“We have received a complaint of murder against two persons, but they are on the run. Central paramilitary personnel will conduct route march in the area to restore confidence among the locals before the election,” a senior police officer of Malda district was quoted as saying.
District BJP president Sanjit Mishra blamed the Trinamool for Mondol’s murder. He said, “Mondol used to work as a civic police volunteer for Harishchandrapur police station. Earlier, Trinamool workers framed him in a false case and he lost his job. Thereafter, he became a BJP leader in the area and a couple of days ago he was instrumental in organising a rally in the area where more than 1,000 people gathered, unnerving the ruling party workers. Trinamool-backed goons have killed Mondol.”
“Since that victory last year, the family has been facing pressure from local Trinamool leaders. After Utpal’s victory, Trinamool workers set fire to his (Utpal’s) house and damaged the jute that he cultivated. Ruling party workers were also putting pressure on Patanu to join the Trinamool,” he added.
Khagen Murmu, the BJP candidate for Malda North, echoed Mishra’s sentiments as well. “He was our active worker and used to organise meetings. TMC-backed goons have killed him and the party is trying to spread terror before the polls,” he said.
The TMC, on the other hand, accused the BJP of murdering Mondol. Dulal Sarkar, TMC’s Malda district president, said, “The brother of the victim, Utpal, has already joined the Trinamool, and has been appointed the pradhan of local gram panchayat. Inspired by the development spree of the state government, Patanu, too, was also planning to join the Trinamool. BJP-backed goons killed him because of this.”
“The BJP is blaming the Trinamool for anything that is happening in Malda. They are trying to politicise every incident to gain mileage. Trinamool Congress is not involved in this incident at all,” said Moazzem Hussain, TMC’s candidate for Malda South.
Political violence has been a harsh reality in Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal. The Panchayat elections in the state were riddled with extreme violence and numerous cases of murder. There were numerous instances of murders, attacks, and vandalism. Even ballot boxes were looted and found destroyed in multiple areas. The TMC government is being charged with employing goons to intimidate its political rivals.
In 2018, there was a series of murders of BJP workers as saffron in the state began to rise as a serious political force. Earlier in January, a woman was gang-raped because her husband is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.