A 12-hour North Bengal bandh called by the BJP on Tuesday in protest against the death of Hemtabad MLA Debendra Nath Roy evoked a mixed response, while the party’ workers clashed with the police and hurled stones at government buses in several places. The BJP has accused the ruling TMC of murdering the MLA, who was found hanging near his home in Uttar Dinajpur district’s Raiganj area on Monday morning.
In several districts, shops remained closed and fewer public vehicles plied on the road. In many places, BJP workers tried to enforce the bandh forcibly.
On Monday, the body of 55-year-old Roy was found hanging from the ceiling of a verandah outside a shuttered shop near his home in Bindal village. Roy had won the 2016 state Assembly polls from Hemtabad on a CPM ticket, but joined the BJP soon after the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
According to the state police, a suicide note was found from his shirt pocket in which he blamed two people for his death. However, the MLA’s family members have claimed that he was murdered and demanded a CBI inquiry. The state government, however, has ordered a CID probe.
In a bid to enforce the bandh, BJP workers clashed with the police in Cooch Behar town, where they tried to prevent buses from leaving a North Bengal State Transport Corporation depot. Window panes of a couple of buses, including one that operates on the Cooch Behar-Mathabhanga route, were damaged by bandh supporters. Later, the police removed the agitators from the area, allowing bus services to resume.
In Siliguri, government bus services were almost normal, although there were fewer private buses. Shops and markets in some places were closed. However, some areas in the city were closed after they were declared containment zones because of rising Covid-19 cases.
The bandh also evoked a mixed response in Malda and Uttar Dinajpur districts. Several bandh supporters were seen picketing on roads and raising slogans demanding a CBI investigation into the MLA’s death.
In Uttar Dinajpur, markets were closed while private vehicles were off the roads. Darjeeling district remained unaffected by the bandh.
In Kolkata, BJP leaders and workers staged a protest in front of Gandhi’s statue at Mayo Road.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “Tomorrow we will protest in front of all police stations in Bengal. This will be a token protest against the political violence on BJP workers.”
TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim said, “The bandh was not successful. BJP workers tried to enforce the bandh as there was no response from people.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines