A day after BJP councillor Manish Shukla was shot dead allegedly by TMC goons, the West Bengal government had handed over the case to the Crime Inspection Department (CID) from the Barrackpore Commissionerate.
Shukla was killed on Sunday evening at around 8.30 pm near Titagarh police station in Barrackpore area. The incident took place when he went to the party office, after attending an event. Moments after he entered the office, bike-borne assailants fired at him. According to eyewitnesses, Shukla was shot from very close range. The case was handed over to the CID after the police conducted the post-mortem of the body of the deceased.
The state unit of the BJP has criticised the move, insinuating that they do not trust the police working under the TMC government. The BJP’s disapproval comes at the backdrop of several cases wherein the unnatural deaths of BJP workers were dubbed as ‘suicide’ or ‘inconclusive’ by the state police. They have demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter.
West Bengal Police issues clarification, slyly vilifies victim as ‘murder accused’
Following political turmoil and public outcry over the killing of the BJP councillor, the West Bengal police issued a clarification on Twitter. While claiming to investigate ‘personal enmity’ angle, the West Bengal police wrote, “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 WB Police also issued a veiled warning to netizens against making “irresponsible comments”. It tweeted, “Please do not jump on conclusion without proper investigation. Irresponsible comments on social media tantamount to interference in the investigation. Please refrain from this”
BJP demands body of Manish Shukla, cops deny permission
On Monday, BJP leaders and party workers gathered outside the Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) hospital where the body of the deceased was kept. They had demanded that the corpse be handed over to them. The BJP has informed that they want to take the body of their party worker to from Kolkata.
“The police officials are not cooperating with us. We are not going to move from here. They (TMC) want to dispose of the matter. We have lost our party leader. They had earlier targetted Arjun Singh. Whoever deserts TMC, they get on the hit list of the party. They either kill them or file fabricated cases against them…There is no democracy in West Bengal,” a senior party leader told ABP news.
The cops had denied entry of BJP party members into the hospital premises and refused to comply with their demands. At the same time, the police had barricaded several gates of the hospital and were allowing the entry to ambulance and patients. On Sunday evening, the BJP workers had also blocked the GT road connecting South 24 Parganas to Kolkata.
Rising political violence in West Bengal
Murder, suspicious deaths and attacks on BJP leaders have been on the rise in West Bengal, a state marred with political violence since decades. Recently, a BJP worker named Rabin Paul was lynched to death in the Pathar Ghata village in Kalna in West Bengal.
As per reports, he was first beaten mercilessly by TMC supporters and then taken to another place in the village where Paul was thrashed by the TMC Deputy Chief. The family alleged that the TMC workers stopped the victim’s daughter when she tried to offer him water. The TMC workers also threatened to thrash Paul’s daughter if she tried to help her father.
On July 13, The West Bengal police had recovered the dead body of Debendra Nath Roy, a BJP MLA from Hematabad, in a closed tea shop in the village of Balia in Bindol Panchayat in Rajiganj. Roy was found hanging from the roof of the shop. He had been missing from the previous night. While the West Bengal police has ruled out ‘foul play’, the BJP unit of West Bengal has alleged that the MLA Debendranath Roy was murdered.
BJP President (North Dinajpur) stated that the ‘suicide note’ was a conspiracy by the police to protect the murderers of the deceased politician. “We are not satisfied with the probe by the CID and will stick to our demand for a CBI investigation,” he was quoted as saying.