A BJP leader was shot dead by unidentified assailants in North 24 Parganas’ Titagarh area on Sunday. Following the death of Manish Shukla, the Opposition party called a 12-hour bandh in Barrackpore on Monday, while Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned the state home secretary, and Director General of Police Virendra, to the Raj Bhavan at 10 am.
“ACS Home @MamataOfficial and DGP @WBPolice have been summoned at 10 am tomorrow in the wake of worsening law and order situation leading to dastardly killing of Manish Shukla, Councillor, Titagarh Municipality in political party office,” he tweeted.
A close aide of BJP MP Arjun Singh, Shukla was shot after returning from a meeting in Habra with other party leaders. He was chatting with a few people at a tea stall around 8.30 pm, when the masked gunmen opened several rounds of fire, said local sources.
The assailants’ bullets struck Shukla on the chest and forehead. He was taken to a private hospital in Kolkata, but was declared dead at 9.20 pm.
Arjun Singh alleged that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) orchestrated the attack. “He was with me till 7.30 pm. Just near Titagarh police station they fired 12 shots. He was declared dead at Apollo Hospital. He was my close friend, and has been killed in front of the police.”
Following the attack, BJP supporters gathered outside the police station and protested against Barrackpore police chief Manoj Verma, when he reached the spot.
In a video message posted on Twitter, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya named Verma and Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Kumar Thakur. “One of our loyal workers, who was close to MP Arjun Singh, has been shot dead outside Titagarh police station. Arjun Singh has been saying from the beginning that police officials have been hired by Mamata Banerjee to kill him. This requires a CBI probe and the role of police must be investigated.”
Senior party leader Arvind Menon accused the ruling party and the state administration of providing shelter to criminals. “They are conspiring to commit public murders and also giving shelter to criminals,” he tweeted.
Later in the night, Arjun Singh tweeted, “Manish was my younger brother, he was always there with me. He has sacrificed his life for the people of Bengal. People of Bengal will always remember this sacrifice. TMC and their loyal police will have to pay for this and will face the consequences.”
TMC leaders dismissed the allegations levelled by the Opposition party. “It is a fight within their party and everyone knows in the vicinity,” said a ruling party leader on the condition of anonymity.
TMC leader Nirmal Ghosh said the killing was a fallout of an internal BJP fight. He accused the Opposition party of “trying to malign the image of the TMC”.
Like Singh, Shukla too was with the TMC before joining the BJP in 2019. He was considered to be a local strongman, and survived a similar attack in 2018. At the time, he was a supervisor at Titagarh wagon factory and a member of the ruling party.
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