Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday described the killing of a West Bengal migrant worker in Rajasthan as the “murder of humanity”, and vowed to stand by the victim’s family. She also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh for the family of the deceased, Mohammad Afrazul (48), and a job for a family member.
This comes on a day when Afrazul’s body reached his home in Malda, and was laid to rest. Residents of nearby villages, local MLAs, MPs and leaders from different political parties were among those gathered at the victim’s house.
Earlier in the day, the DM and SP of Malda had visited Afrazul’s residence, and a large police contingent was deployed in the area.
Speaking at an event organised by the West Bengal Human Rights Commission in Kolkata, Mamata said: “I felt sad and hurt to learn about yesterday’s incident in Rajasthan. A person was burnt alive. It does not matter whether the person was a Hindu or Muslim. It is a murder of humanity. It is an inhuman and barbaric act. Today, I spoke with members of the victim’s family. The victim’s wife was concerned about the future of her family members. I told her not to worry about it, as we will address their concerns. It is our responsibility to help the family and stand by them. But who will give them justice? There are other migrant workers across the country. We need to help them fight cases in court as they come from poor economic background.”
Asserting that no one should violate human rights, Mamata said, “It is our social responsibility and obligation to protect human rights. Violation of human rights amounts to violation of human society. If such rights are violated, the human rights commission should definitely address it.”
Condemning the murder, Mamata had earlier in the day tweeted, “Very sad incident happened in Rajasthan. Afrajul Khan of Malda of our state was brutally killed. His family is totally helpless. As a small help to the bereaved family, our government has decided to provide Rs 3 lakh to the family and… also one job to the eligible person of the victim’s family. Other help from the government will also be provided. I am sending our team of ministers and MPs to visit the family.”
State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim and state Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari will visit the house on Saturday, officials said. They will be accompanied by Trinamool Congress MPs Saugata Roy, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar. Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, a senior TMC leader from Malda, will also visit.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Gul Bahar Bibi, Afrazul’s wife, said: “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had a telephonic conversation with us. I told the chief minister that our future has been ruined, and she must do something for us. She gave assurance that her government will stand by us. We also want strong punishment for my husband’s killer.”
Sources said Mamata has also asked DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha to get in touch with his counterpart in Rajasthan and find out more about the incident.
The TMC, led by party MP Abhishek Banerjee, held a candle light vigil from from Hazra Crossing to Gandhi Statue at Mayo Road in Kolkata on Friday evening to condemn the killing. Various rights groups in the state also called for stringent punishment for the accused, as well as an end to “continuous attacks” on people of minority communities.
(With inputs from PTI)