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Birbhum Massacre: TMC leader not only ordered the killings at Bogtui village but also monitored the massacre while keeping police away, says CBI

TMC leader Anarul Hossain asked the perpetrators to attack Sona Sheikh and Fatik Sheikh's residences, expressly instructing the mob that no one should be spare, and assured that police would not arrive for 4 hours

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a charge sheet on Monday at Rampurhat court in Bengal’s Birbhum district. The charge sheet says that Anarul Hossain, the former Rampurhat community block-1 unit president of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), not only ordered the killings at Bogtui village which took place on 21st March 2022 and claimed ten lives but also monitored it while keeping the police away.

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, it was mentioned in the 1192-page charge sheet submitted by the CBI. The charge sheet is based on the eyewitness accounts, CCTV footage at various places, and the statements of the two out of three women who died of burn injuries at Rampurhat Medical College and Hospital.

Anarul Hossain is currently in judicial custody. He was arrested on 24th March 2022. Before CBI brought him into custody, he was accused of murder, arson, rioting with lethal weapons, and criminal conspiracy.

The Birbhum Massacre

On March 21 at 8:20 p.m., a bombing at the Bogtui crossroads on NH-114A claimed the life of Bhadu Sheikh, the deputy chief of the nearby TMC-controlled Barshal gram panchayat. According to the charge sheet, Hossain then ordered a counter-assault in response to this. Bhadu Sheikh was rushed to the Rampurhat hospital, where he was declared dead. Hossain was also seen at that hospital, after Sheikh was taken there. Charges in two separate crimes are framed by the CBI but at the same time, CBI has underlined that both the incidents are interlinked. Four people are accused in the Bhadu Sheikh murder case while 18 others including Anarul Hossain are accused in the violence that erupted after Sheikh’s murder.

Ten persons were killed in this counter-attack ordered by the TMC leader, when a dozen houses were burnt down. The miscreants had locked the houses from outside before torching them, leaving no room for the occupants to flee. 

On 25th March 2022, the Calcutta High Court ordered the CBI probe of the Birbhum killings and Sheikh’s murder. CBI has mentioned in its charge sheet that Rivalry between Sheikh and his colleagues over dubious land deals, fraudulent companies, and share of extortion money led to Sheikh’s murder. The charge sheet cites eyewitness statements to support its claim that Hossain directed the crowd to attack Sona Sheikh and Fatik Sheikh’s residences, expressly instructing the mob that no one should be spared.

The residences of Sona Sheikh and Fatik Sheikh were targeted in a section of Bogtui village, just 150 metres from the busy Rampurhat town, and fuel was transported there from a nearby store in an e-rickshaw whose driver the CBI had detained. Unmehani Khatun, an eight-year-old child, was one of the six women who were burnt alive that night. Nurnehar Bibi was the oldest victim, aged 77. Marjina Khatun, 21, and Sajidur Rehman, the lone male victim of the massacre, were among the others.

The families living in at least eight other homes were attacked; but they were able to get out. The 10 victims were all members of the families of the three brothers Mihilal, Sheikhlal, and Banirul Sheikh, as well as Sona and Fatik Sheikh, who were related to the brothers.

Anarul Hossain’s involvement in the Birbhum Massacre

Hossain is accused of instructing local cops not to rush to Bogtui. The charge sheet cites witnesses who informed CBI that Hossain gave the perpetrators assurances that no policeman would approach the area for at least an hour in accordance with his orders. The Bogtui village is at a distance of less than one kilometre from the Rampurhat police station but the police took more than one hour to reach the spot.

Several witnesses informed the CBI that when they phoned Hossain for assistance, he told them they would have to bear the repercussions of the attack on a TMC leader. According to the charge sheet, Hossain deleted the call logs from his phone in order to destroy evidence.

West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party’s spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “Anarul Hossain is too small a fry to plan and commit such a massacre on his own. It is obvious that he was carrying out the orders given by someone senior to him in the TMC hierarchy. Are we to believe that top district police officers did not rush to Bogtui just because Hossain asked them not to?”

Who is Anarul Hossain?

Anarul Hossain is the TMC 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.

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. Now CBI has framed charges against him in the Birbhum Massacre of 21st March 2022 based on the testimonies of the eyewitnesses.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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