A day after a BJP worker was found dead during the saffron party’s protest programme in West Bengal’s Siliguri, the police on Tuesday said the postmortem report indicates that the man died of “shotgun injuries”, and that the shot was fired from a close range. Within hours, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jalpaiguri, ordered a fresh postmortem in the presence of three doctors and under videography.
The court also sought a compliance report from the police by December 11. The order came on a prayer by the family members of the deceased, Ulen Roy, 50.
While the BJP on Tuesday reiterated its stance that Roy died in police firing and accused the police of a bid to hush up the truth, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the saffron party over the death.
Addressing a public meeting in Raniganj, Banerjee said: “The police never use it (shotgun). You (BJP) are killing a man with pellets just for publicity and propaganda. I appeal to the media to crosscheck when they (BJP) lie.”
The police also stated that the department does not use shotguns.
There was a malafide intention to create violence by the use of firearms. CID West Bengal has been asked to investigate. Truth will come out and strong action will be taken against all those who planned and executed the heinous crime. (3/3) pic.twitter.com/8UNdfDoVDH
— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) December 8, 2020
Lok Sabha member and state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however, asserted: “Firing was done from the police’s side. If the police did not fire, who did? Proper investigation will reveal the truth.”
In another development, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar called upon the chief secretary and the DGP to meet him by December 12. Dhankhar tweeted, “Constrained in public interest to call upon CS @MamataOfficial &DGP @WBPolice to see me not later than Dec 12. Their continued non responsive stance and failure to update me on affairs of the state tantamounts to shredding all canons of governance in accordance to constitution.”
Roy, a BJP worker from Gajaldoba, had died in clashes between party workers and police personnel during the protest programme – ‘Uttar Kanya Abhiyan’ – on Tuesday. The body bore pellet injuries.
Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of violence was reported from parts of north Bengal, where BJP tried to impose a 12 hour bandh in protest against the death. In Malda, BJP workers were detained by police as they tried to block National Highway 34.
BJP workers reportedly vandalised a state government advertisement billboard in Siliguri, following which BJP and TMC workers got into a scuffle, and the police had to control the situation.
On Roy’s death, West Bengal Police on Tuesday stated in multiple tweets: “As per PM [postmortem] report ‘death was due to effects of shotgun injuries.’ Police do not use shotguns. It is obvious that during yesterday’s protest in Siliguri, armed persons were brought and they fired from firearms. The deceased received pallet injuries from a shotgun fired from close range by a person standing near the deceased in the protest program. This is unprecedented. Bringing armed persons in protest programs and inciting them to fire is unheard off.”
The state police also tweeted, “There was a malafide intention to create violence by use of firearms. CID West Bengal has been asked to investigate…”
Criticising the police for giving conclusion to the case “even before the investigation has started”, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said at a press conference in Kolkata: “We have seen in Nandigram how miscreants wore uniforms and were with the police. Likewise, TMC-backed miscreants were present there with the police. Instead of properly investigating the death, the police, on behalf of TMC, are trying to defame our party.”
Party state general secretary Sayantan Basu said, “It was the police who fired. They are trying to hush-up the truth by handing over the investigation to CID. We will move the court.”
Addressing the media, state Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said, “We have found out from sources in the government and the party that the man was not killed in police firing. The PM report clearly says shotgun injuries. Some people were carrying shotguns. Unfortunately, these were shotguns used by their own people in which a person was injured and later died.”
The minister also said, “The (autopsy) report also states that he himself was carrying a shotgun. The BJP tried to instigate and provoke the police, but the police showed restraint. The police chased them only with lathis.”
During Monday’s Uttar Kanya Abhiyan, BJP workers marched towards North Bengal state secretariat and tried to remove barricades put up by the police at Tinbatti and Phulbari crossings in Siliguri. Some barricades were set on fire. The police used water cannons, teargas shells and later used the baton to bring the situation under control.
Ulen Roy was injured near Phulbari crossing and was taken to hospital. He succumbed to injuries.
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