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Who is Anarul Hossain?: All you need to know about the TMC leader arrested in connection with the Birbhum violence case

Anarul Hossain is the TMC block president of Rampurhat and was arrested in connection with the violence that transpired in Bogtui village of Birbhum. Hossain was previously associated with the Congress party before he defected to the TMC.

Two days after 8 people were charred to death by miscreants in an arson attack in the Rampurhat area in Bogtui village in Birbhum district of West Bengal, the police on Thursday (March 24) arrested a Trinamool Congress leader named Anarul Hossain in connection with the case.

As per reports, Hossain was apprehended from Tarapith after the cops tracked his mobile phone tower location. The development came after TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed his immediate arrest over ‘administrative negligence.’

On Thursday, she visited the Bogtui village and met with the family members of the deceased TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh, whose alleged murder is believed to have sparked violence in Birbhum. She also met the relatives of the 8 deceased and assured them of appropriate action.

While quoting Mamata Banerjee, Zee24Ghanta had reported, “Anarul has to be arrested immediately. Either he must surrender or face arrest.”

Screengrab of the news report by Zee24 ghanta

Anarul Hossain – An impoverished mason turned influential politician

Anarul Hossain is the President of Rampurhat Block No.1 and was arrested in connection to the violence that transpired in Bogtui village of Birbhum. India Today reported that Hossain was associated with the Congress party, before defecting to the TMC.

As per a report published by TV9 Bangla, Hossain joined the Trinamool Congress in 1998 and went on to serve as the party’s block president for more than a decade. Known as a ‘skilled organiser’ within the party ranks, he controls the municipal corporation and the sand mining business in the Rampurhat area.

Screengrab of the news report by TV9 Bangla

ABP Ananda reported that Hossain grew up in poverty and worked as a mason (Raj mistri). He used to live with his family in a mud house (matir badi). However, his ‘fortunes’ changed after 2011.

Once an impoverished mason, Hossain today lives in a bungalow in Sandhipur village that is located in Hoogly district of West Bengal. He is also also the owner of several houses and cars.

Citing local sources, ABP Ananda reported that he became an influential contractor within just 6 years. His influence in the area increased by several folds after he was made the Block President by Trinamool Congress.

Influence of Hossain in Bogtui village and relationship with top TMC leaders

The TMC functionary has the final say in matters pertaining to the Bogtui village. Citing local sources, ABP Ananda reported that the TMC Block President is in-charge of 9 panchayats, where no Opposition candidate was allowed to field nomination in 2018.

The influence of the TMC block President can be gauged from the fact that when police went to his house on the directives of Mamata Banerjee, his supporters began creating hurdles for the cops.

Anarul Hossain is said to be close to TMC (Rampurhat) MLA and the current Deputy Speaker of West Bengal Legislative Assembly, Ashish Banerjee. When he was confronted by media persons about his links with Hossain, Banerjee declined to answer.

It has come to light that Hossain was a confidant of MC leader Anubrata Mandal but their relationship had soured in the past 1-1.5 years. Anarul Hossain’s nephew has accused Mandal of fabricating his uncle in the case.

Accusations of complicity in Birbhum violence

According to a report by Anandabazar Patrika, the relatives of the deceased had accused Anarul Hossain of not responding to their calls for assistance during the arson attack. The TMC functionary also did not apprise the police about the matter. The police is now investigating the reasons behind the administrative negligence on his part.

In his defence, Hossain had said, “Lies are being peddled to tarnish my name. When I learnt about the death of Vadu Sheikh, I went to the hospital. I even delivered a message of peace. Those who killed Bhadu Sheikh are the ones who carried out the arson attack. They are now trying to fabricate my name in the case.”

Screengrab of the news report by Anandbazar Patrika

Birbhum violence: The case so far

On March 22 late-night, a group of enraged miscreants set ablaze around 12 homes which resulted in the gruesome death of eight people including women and innocent children in Birbhum’s Rampurhat. 

A Special Investigation Team (SIT), comprising of ADG CID Gyanwant Singh, ADG Western Zone Sanjay Singh and DIG CID (Operations) Meeraj Khalid, was constituted to probe the incident. Journalist Pooja Mehta had informed that Officer-in-Charge (OC) and the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) were suspended in the aftermath of the incident.

The autopsy report of the burnt bodies showed that the victims were beaten before they were locked in their own homes and set ablaze. The gruesome killings are believed to have been orchestrated to avenge the alleged murder of TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh.

The deceased was a panchayat member who has allegedly attacked with crude bombs while he was sitting at a shop on National Highway-60 on Monday (March 21). The Indian Express had reported that the miscreants burnt the houses of the family members of Fatik Sheikh and Chhota Lalon Sheikh, who allegedly killed the TMC leader.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued a notice to the West Bengal government and the state’s police chief and requested a report within four weeks detailing the steps taken to ensure people’s safety.

In the aftermath of the Birbhum violence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a strong message of condemnation and appealed to the State government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

On Friday (March 25), the Calcutta High Court transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Court observed, “We are of the opinion that the facts and the circumstances of the case demand that, in the interest of justice and to instil confidence in the society and to have a fair investigation to dig out the truth, it is necessary to hand over the investigation to the CBI.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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