As the murders of Bandhu Prakash Pal, his wife and five-year-old son in Murshidabad snowballed into a political row with the BJP targeting the ruling TMC government in West Bengal claiming Pal was an RSS functionary, his family Friday said he was not associated with any political party or organisation and lashed out at both parties for politicising the issue.
Pal (40), a teacher, his wife Beauty (30) and their son Angan (5) were found murdered at their home in Lebu Bagan area of Jiaganj Tuesday.
“He was like a white paper. Who told you he is a BJP member? He was never associated with BJP or Trinamool Congress. He was never with RSS. These are lies being spread,” said Maya Pal (68), Pal’s mother at their house in Barala village, Sahapur under Sagardighi police station.
The bodies of Pal and his son were found in one room and Beauty’s in another. Police said husband and wife were hacked to death and Angan strangled first and then assaulted with a heavy object to ensure that he died. Police said four men were detained for questioning – two were set free later – and sketches were being prepared from eyewitness descriptions.
While police suspect personal enmity, the BJP targeted the state government on law and order while the TMC said he was a victim of BJP infighting. Party workers put up pictures of the family and videos on social media while the National Commission for Women (NCW) sent a letter to the state DGP.
“Dilip Ghosh yesterday said that my cousin belonged to the ‘BJP Parivar’. He is lying. He belonged to our parivar. I have seen him since childhood and apart from being my cousin, he was my best friend. Whenever we talked politics he used to walk away. Even Trinamool Congress leaders are now saying it is due to an internal feud in the BJP. They are the ruling party they should ensure that police find who hacked my cousin, his wife and the little boy to death. No one should politicise the issue,” said Bandhu Krishna Ghosh (41), Pal’s maternal cousin.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bengal senior RSS functionary Bidyut Roy, said: “He was in touch with us for the past four months and attended some of our programmes. He was a novice. I do not believe that he was murdered because he was in touch with us. But we condemn the murder and the guilty should be punished.”
Pal was raised in his maternal uncle’s house in Barala village and later got a job at the Sahapur primary school in 2005. He and his mother built a house and bought over 12 cottah of land in the area and bought a second-hand car too. Pal went to school every day at 10 am and left by 7 pm.
“One-and-half years ago, he took his family to Jiagunj town. He said his son would get proper schooling there. You can ask anyone in this village, he never had any political association. He studied hard and later devoted time to teaching and his business,” said Dulal Ghosh (64), Pal’s paternal uncle.
Family members also pointed fingers at the police and said there were lapses in the probe. “They are yet to bring in a forensic team. We have heard that the assailant left shoes inside the house. They did not bring in sniffer dogs either. So much time has passed, yet no arrests have been made. I had to wait for nine hours to meet the officer in charge of Jiagunj police station,” said Bandhu Krishna.
Pal’s neighbour and BJP district committee leader Manoj Sarkar said: “The family kept to themselves mostly. Bandhu Prakash only spoke to us when he was on his way to the market or school. He never spoke politics nor we did we see him associated with a political party.” Sarkar is the former councillor of the area – ward number 16 of the Jiagunj-Azamgunj municipality.
Meanwhile, senior police officers claimed they were close to cracking the case. “There are a few eyewitnesses who saw one person running away from the house. The victim, apart from being a teacher, was also an agent for insurance and financial companies. He was in serious financial distress and lost money,” said a police officer.
According to Pal’s family, Bandhu Prakash did lose money in various chain marketing systems and insurance schemes.
Sarkar’s brother Pankaj is among the eyewitness. “I heard no sound or shrieks from the house. Around noon, I saw a man running out of the house and chased him but failed to catch him. I returned and saw many people in front of Pal’s house saying they had been brutally murdered,” he said.
Murshidabad SP Mukesh Kumar said police detained four men. “Two were let go and two more are being questioned. The CID is working closely with us. We have eyewitnesses. One person we want in the case is absconding. We are looking into the professional killer angle too,” he said.
— Also written by Atri Mitra
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