The body of another man was found hanging from a power transmission tower in West Bengal’s Purulia district, with the Bharatiya Janata Party claiming he was a party worker and Union minister Prakash Javadekar alleging that it was “political murder”.
The incident comes days after the body of another man, Trilochon Mahato, 20, who the party said was a member of its youth wing, was found hanging from a tree in Balarampur village of Purulia district.
The BJP alleged the deaths were “political murders” and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the two incidents, even as the West Bengal government transferred Purulia Superintendent of Police Joy Biswas. He has been replaced by Akash Magharia.
The alleged killings have triggered another round of face-off between the TMC and the BJP, which were embroiled in a bitter slugfest during the panchayat elections last month.
Dulal Kumar, 35, was found hanging from a power transmission tower near the fields in Purulia district’s Dava village early Saturday morning, said SP Joy Biswas, who has been transferred following the incident.
No arrest has been made in connection with the incident so far, the SP said.
The BJP claimed Kumar was a party worker.
Party president Amit Shah attacked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the wake of the alleged “political murders”.
Kumar’s death outraged locals who protested outside the Balarampur police station, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits and removal of the officer-in-charge.
A note found near Mahato’s body read he was “punished for working for the BJP” during the recent panchayat polls. However, the police did not recover any such note in Kumar’s case, Biswas said.
“According to circumstantial evidence, Kumar’s death seems to be a case of suicide. We are waiting for the postmortem report,” the SP said.
Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’ Brien condemned the killings and demanded a detailed probe into them. He, however, did not rule out the involvement of the BJP, the Bajrang Dal or Maoists in the incidents.
“We strongly condemn this despicable killing. All angles must be probed. The perpetrators of this heinous act must be punished. What role did Jharkhand border have to play? What elements of Bajrang Dal, Maoist or BJP involved. Let the truth be found out through proper investigation,” O’ Brien tweeted.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who was in the city, attacked the TMC government, describing the deaths as “political murders”.
“Political murders have been taking place in West Bengal. 19 BJP workers have been killed so far (since the rural polls). The latest victims were Dulal and Trilochon Mahato.
“This is inhuman and the worst kind of crime. We condemn the brutal political murders. The people of West Bengal will definitely teach a lesson to those behind the incidents,” he told reporters.
Hitting out at the Purulia SP for terming Kumar’s death a suicide, BJP national secretary and former party state president Rahul Sinha demanded a CBI inquiry into the two deaths.
“The TMC is playing a dirty game. If Mamata Banerjee has got the courage, she must ask for a CBI enquiry into the deaths. These are political murders. The police are trying to label them as suicides,” he said.
The BJP took out a number of rallies in New Delhi and in parts of the state to protest the death of Mahato.
BJP activists, led by state women wing chief Locket Chatterjee, on Saturday took a march in Kolkata to protest the deaths.
The West Bengal government has ordered a CID probe into the killing of Mahato, ADG (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma confirmed.
According to senior CID officials, the possible involvement of people from the bordering state of Jharkhand would be also probed.
“As it is a bordering district, there is a possibility of outsiders being involved in the killings of Mahto and Kumar. These killings could be part of a conspiracy,” said a senior officer of the state CID.
In Purulia, the TMC and the BJP gave a tough fight to each other. They won 839 and 645 seats respectively. Out of the 38 zilla parishad seats, the TMC bagged 26 and the BJP nine