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Sunday, May 09, 2021

The day after Bengal results: BJP says 6 workers killed, Centre asks for report

The BJP said that six of its workers were among those killed and that “TMC goons” attacked and vandalised several of its offices, including one in Nandigram where the party's candidate Suvendu Adhikari defeated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: May 4, 2021 7:35:11 am
TMCTMC party workers celebrate on Sunday (Express photo by Partha Paul)

HOURS AFTER the poll results were declared in West Bengal, political violence erupted across the state Monday, with at least eight people reported to have been killed.

The BJP said that six of its workers were among those killed and that “TMC goons” attacked and vandalised several of its offices, including one in Nandigram where the party’s candidate Suvendu Adhikari defeated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Adhikari’s car was also attacked in Nandigram, the party said.

The TMC rejected the allegation and said that one of its workers was killed in Burdwan. The newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF), which had aligned with the Congress-Left alliance, also said that one of its workers was killed in North 24 Parganas.

By late Monday evening, there were several social media posts by the BJP alleging attacks against its women workers. BJP leader and former MP Swapan Dasgupta tweeted about “marauding mobs seeking to take it out against BJP supporters” and “reports of molestation or worse of women”.

But TMC MP Derek O’Brien blamed the violence on “intra-party fights” in the BJP. “BJP IT cell could have given trolls some time off after results. All cases on SM are BJP intra-party fights. Three+ factions in Bengal. They hate each other,” he tweeted.

The state police did not confirm the number of deaths or provide any details. The Union Home Ministry has, however, asked the state government to submit a report on the “post-poll violence targeting opposition political workers in the state”.

The BJP has announced a nationwide dharna on May 5 — the same day that Mamata Banerjee is expected to take oath again as Chief Minister. It said that the party’s president J P Nadda will visit the state on May 4-5 “in view of the widespread post-results retributive violence unleashed on BJP workers and supporters by criminal elements in the TMC cadre”.

Speaking about the violence, Banerjee appealed for peace but accused the BJP of “spreading lies using old pictures of riots that did not take place in Bengal”.

But West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said: “After winning the election, the ruling party has launched an attack on our workers…at least six persons have been killed in the last 24 hours. The houses of hundreds of our party workers and leaders have been ransacked. Many were set ablaze. Reports of violence are pouring in from all constituencies.”

The BJP released a list of 24 incidents across the state in which its workers were targeted. It also separately listed the party workers killed: Shova Rani Mondal (Jagaddal, North 24 Parganas); Uttam Ghosh (Ranaghat, Nadia); Abhijit Sarkar (Beliaghat, Kolkata); Horom Adhikari (Sonarpur Dakshin, South 24 Parganas); Momik Moitra (Sitalkuchi, Cooch Behar); and, Gourab Sarkar (Bolpur, Birbhum).

According to BJP, Shova Rani Mondal was killed when she tried to save her son from being attacked by TMC workers. The Indian Express contacted Biswajit Sarkar, the brother of BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar who was killed in Beliaghat. “My brother was beaten to death by TMC goons after he posted videos on Facebook describing how they had ransacked his house and offices. We want strong action against those who killed my brother,” he said.

A vandalised BJP office at Nandigram on Monday. (ANI)

Banerjee said that a TMC worker was killed in Burdwan and blamed the BJP for the violence. “We know that the BJP and Central forces had tortured people. But even then, I will urge everybody to maintain peace and not to resort to violence. If there are any allegations, approach the police. Till we take the oath, law and order is not in our hands. Despite the defeat, BJP is torturing people,” she said.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned the state’s DGP and Kolkata Police Commissioner to express his dismay over the incidents. The state’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) also called on the Governor, and has been asked to submit a report on the post-poll violence.

“Perturbed and worried at several reports of violence, arson and killings from various parts of State. Party offices, houses & shops being attacked. Situation alarming. Prompt action called for @HomeBengal @WBPolice @CPKolkata Have conferred @MamataOfficial for urgent action,” Dhankhar posted.

“Have been constrained to urgently summon DGP @WBPolice in the wake of alarming law and order in the State,” the Governor tweeted.

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