THE COMMUNAL violence in Basirhat, triggered by a Facebook post by a 17-year-old boy in neighbouring Baduria on Sunday, claimed its first victim with a 65-year-old man succumbing to stab wounds on Thursday morning, according to police in North-24 Parganas district. Police identified the victim as Kartik Chandra Ghosh, a resident of Basirhat, who was referred by a local hospital to R G Kar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata on Wednesday evening. Three others injured in the violence are being treated at the hospital, said police.
Ghosh’s son Prabhasis told The Indian Express that his father was stabbed “multiple times” by unidentified attackers. “On Wednesday, violence broke out in my locality, Bhyabla, which falls under ward number 20 of Basirhat sub-division. At around 1 pm, my father was walking back home from the market when the area was attacked by members of the minority community. My father was stabbed multiple times by these goons who fled the spot, leaving him on the road,” said Prabhasis. Police sources said the spot where Ghosh was attacked was “about half a kilometre away” from Bhyabla, where tension had been prevailing since Sunday. They said that police fired teargas shells to bring the situation under control, which led to one person being injured. Police identified the injured as Fazrul Islam and described his condition as “stable”.
“Ghosh was critically injured and did not respond to treatment. He died at 8.07 am today. We have sent the body for autopsy,” said a hospital official. “He needed to have 16 stitches when he was brought here. He had injuries on the left hand, too. The exact cause of death can only be ascertained after autopsy,” said the official. Ghosh’s family members described him as “a small businessman who used to sell chicken and grocery items”. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Contacted by The Indian Express, IGP (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma, said, “The situation in Basirhat is under control now. I have no confirmation of any death due to clashes there and until I get that, I cannot comment.”
Ghosh’s death, meanwhile, has sparked a political tussle, with the BJP claiming that he was a party worker — the claim was denied by his family. At R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, BJP leaders, including state chief Dilip Ghosh and Locket Chatterjee, were prevented by Trinamool workers from meeting the victim’s family. “Our party member lost his life in the communal flare-up in Basirhat. We came to meet him. We wanted to support the family, but a few people in the premises stopped us. They were all raising TMC slogans. We were not allowed to meet the family,” said Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP national general secretary.
“TMC workers blocked our vehicle in the presence of police. One of our workers was dragged inside the hospital and beaten up. I was abused,” alleged Ghosh. The BJP has decided to send a team of three MPs — Meenakshi Lekhi, Satpal Singh and Om Mathur — to Basirhat on Friday, who will submit a detailed report to party president Amit Shah. “The BJP is creating tension everywhere. Now, they say the deceased man was their worker. What was he doing there? It shows that the BJP has a hand in creating trouble in the area,” alleged Partha Chatterjee, state Education Minister.