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West Bengal: Mob torches houses in Birbhum following the murder of TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh, 8 burnt alive

On Tuesday (March 22) night, at least 8 people were charred to death after unidentified miscreants set a dozen houses on fire. The incident took place in the Rampurhat area in the Birbhum district of West Bengal.

ANI reported that 7 dead bodies were recovered from a single house, which was then sent to the Rampurhat medical college hospital. As per a report published by India Today, the miscreants locked the houses from outside before setting them ablaze, thereby leaving no scope for the occupants to vacate.

On receiving information about the arson attack, a team of fire officials, local police, forensic experts and the Birbhum district magistrate reached the crime spot. Journalist Pooja Mehta reported that the cause of the fire breakout is yet to be ascertained.

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

The aftermath of the arson attack in Birbhum, image via Aaj Tak Bangla

Arson attack in West Bengal meant to avenge the murder of a TMC leader, party refutes claims: Reports

The Times of India reported that the incident took place in the aftermath of the killing of a Trinamool Congress (TMC) functionary named 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).

“As he was a popular leader, the mob attacked some of the houses of the opposition gang at the village of Bhadu Sheikh. Police have so far arrested one person for the murder of Sheikh,” the report stated. TOI pointed out that the fire service was initially obstructed from extinguishing the fire after they reached the crime scene.

As per a report in The Week, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has alleged that a dozen houses were set on fire to avenge the murder of Bhadu Sheikh.

Screengrab of the news report by The Week

“CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty alleged the violence was a result of internal rivalries in the TMC. However, Anubrata Mandal, district president of the TMC, denied there was any murder or violence and claimed the fire was triggered by a short circuit,” the report added.

Similarly, a report published in the Indian Express said the arson attack was in response to the murder of Bhadu Sheikh. It is learned that family members of Fatik Sheikh and Chhota Lalon Sheikh have been burnt to death. Fatik and Chhota Lalon are accused of killing Bhadu Sheikh, deputy chief of the Trinamool Congress (TMC)-controlled Barshal village panchayat.

Meanwhile, the BJP said that the arson attack in the Birbhum district of West Bengal was reminiscent of CPI(M)-era mass killings and demanded imposition of the President’s rule in the State.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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