The body of an 18-year-old man, whom the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed as its member, was found hanging from a tree near his home in Purulia district of West Bengal on Wednesday morning.
The incident invited strong criticism of the Trinamool government from BJP chief Amit Shah who said the ruling dispensation has 'surpassed the violent legacy of the communist rule' in West Bengal.
An unsigned handwritten note in Bengali found near the body of Trilochan Mahato near his home in Balarampur, about 295 km from Kolkata, stated that he was 'punished for working for the BJP' during the recent rural polls in the state, a senior district police officer said.
'Because you are involved with the BJP even when you are only 18 years, it has claimed your life. I have been searching for you since the panchayat elections and now you are dead,' the officer said quoting from the note.
The youth had gone to a place barely 3 km from his village on Tuesday evening and did not return home. He had called up his brother in the night and said that he was kidnapped and urged to be rescued, he said.
"We were informed by his family (about it) but despite searches throughout the night we could not spot him," the officer said.
The body was found in Balarampur village in the morning and the police were informed about it by the locals, he said, adding no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
Assailing the Trinamool Congress government over the incident, Shah wrote on Twitter, 'Deeply hurt by the brutal killing of our young karyakarta, Trilochan Mahato, in Balarampur, West Bengal. A young life full of possibilities was brutally taken under state's patronage. He was hanged on a tree just because his ideology differed from that of state sponsored goons.'
He said, 'The present TMC govt in West Bengal has surpassed the violent legacy of Communist rule. Entire BJP mourns this tragic loss & stands firmly with Trilochan Mahato's family in this hour of grief. His sacrifice for organisation & ideology will not go in vain.'
The West Bengal BJP unit condemned the incident terming it 'an attack on democracy'.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya claimed that 18 party workers have been killed in the state and alleged that it was at the behest of the state government.
The party's national secretary Rahul Sinha told reporters in Kolkata that the youth was associated with the party and asked, "Is it democracy where a young man is being killed just because he was associated with the BJP?"
Training his gun at the TMC, he said BJP cadre are being attacked and killed as the saffron party fared well in Purulia in the recent panchayat election in the state.
"The TMC wants to eliminate all signs of opposition from the areas where BJP has won (in the rural poll)", Sinha said.
The Trinamool Congress termed the allegations as baseless and concocted.
"The allegations against TMC are completely baseless," a senior district TMC leader said.
In Purulia, the TMC and the BJP had a close fight in the gram panchayats winning 839 and 645 seats respectively. Out of the 38 Zilla Parishad seats, TMC had won 26 seats and BJP nine seats.
IMAGE: Photograph of the note tweeted by BJP chief Amit Shah. Photograph: Kind courtesy @AmitShah/Twitter