The political situation in West Bengal’s Basirhat district continued to remain tense on Sunday after BJP leaders were reportedly not allowed by the police to take the remains of those killed in Friday’s clashes to the party office, ANI reported. The saffron party has called for a 12-hour bandh across the state and vowed to move court against the role of the police.
Three BJP workers and one Trinamool Congress (TMC) member were killed in violence in Sandeshkhali in North 24-Parganas district on Saturday. The clash is the first major incident of violence after the tense, bitterly contested Lok Sabha election, in which the BJP won 18 of the 42 seats in the state.
Sandeshkhali is part of Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency, where the TMC’s Nusrat Jahan Ruhi defeated the BJP’s Sayantan Basu.
According to ANI, trouble broke out when BJP leaders tried to take the mortal remains of the three workers to the party office.
“I have spoken to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who has assured me that he will speak to senior officials. Police couldn’t prevent the murders and are now stopping us from cremating the bodies,” BJP general secretary Rahul Sinha was quoted as saying by the news agency.
“We have been stopped at three places. I have already assured that there will be no marches. We will peacefully take the bodies to the party office so that others can pay their tribute before their cremation at the designated place,” Sinha added.
Speaking on similar lines, BJP MP from Hooghly Locket Chatterjee threatened to perform the last rites on the road if the party workers were not allowed to proceed.
“The families of the deceased want to take the remains to the party office but Mamata’s police are stopping us, saying that the last rites will be held in the village,” she said, adding, “If the police don’t leave, then the last rites will be performed on the road.”
Announcing to observe a black day on Monday, Sinha said, “The party has called for a 12-hour bandh in Basirhat and in entire West Bengal tomorrow. We will observe a black day. We will also move the court over the police role. The remains of the deceased are being taken to their native places for the funeral.”
“We are also ready to proceed further under police cordon. What kind of rule is this? Democracy is being strangulated in this state,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Home Affairs expressed “deep concerns” over the “unabated violence” even after the Lok Sabha elections, calling it a “failure on part of the state government” to ensure law and order.
“The unabated violence over the past weeks appears to be a failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and inspire confidence among people,” a Home Ministry advisory said.
Speaking on similar lines, Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi “appealed to all to see that no violence incidents take place”. “Governor Tripathi is very sad at the unfortunate loss of lives and properties of the citizens. He extends his heartfelt sympathy for the families and near and dear ones of the deceased,” a Raj Bhawan statement said.