Amid Uneasy Calm in Bengal's Sandeshkhali After BJP-TMC Clashes, Kin of Deceased Recount Horror
While two BJP supporters were killed in the clash, a Trinamool Congress supporter also lost his life.
A ransacked party office in Basirhat. (News18)
Kolkata: An uneasy calm prevails in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district where clashes broke out between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday, leading to three deaths.
Shops remained closed in most parts of Basirhat after a 12-hour bandh called by the BJP on Monday to protest against the killing of two of their supporters. The saffron party also observed a ‘Black Day’ across the state as a sign of protest.
The clashes began at a hatchery in Sandeshkhali, which was also used as an informal meeting ground for BJP supporters. The Trinamool supporters allegedly barged in on Saturday afternoon when most of the villagers were celebrating ‘Jamai Sasti’ — a Bengali tradition where the son-in-law is treated to a meal at his in-laws’ house.
A few steps away from this hatchery is the house of Pradip Mondol, a 35-year-old BJP supporter who was killed in Sunday’s clash along with his cousin and next door neighbour Sukanta Mondol.
Narrating how TMC supporters pumped bullets into his eye and chest before he fell into a pond, Pradip’s brother and wife have demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident. “I want a CBI inquiry. I saw my husband being dragged to the nearby field and beaten up. They pumped bullets into his right eye and chest and kept pumping in bullets even after he fell into a pond. Police did nothing while all this happened,” said Pradip’s wife Padma.
Pradip’s brother Sandip said, “My brother got a call saying there was a customer at his cloth shop. When he arrived there, he was attacked by TMC supporters. I demand a CBI enquiry as I have no faith in the police. They also killed my cousin Sukanta.”
BJP leaders claim more than two of their supporters have died though officially just two bodies have been identified. Devda Mondal, a 34-year-old party supporter has been missing since Saturday and his family is certain that he has been killed. “I know my son is not alive but I just want to see him once to pray that his soul rests in peace,” said Asha Rani Mondol.
Not just BJP, the TMC too lost one of its supporters. Kaium Mollah, a 26-year-old supporter of the party, died in clashes in Sandeshkhali on Saturday. His father Liyakat Ali Mollah pins the blame for his son’s death on Pradip Mondol, the BJP supporter who died in the clashes.
He also blamed BJP MPs such as Arjun Singh, Dilip Ghosh and Locket Chatterjee for creating unrest in the area with their speeches. “The BJP has instigated this violence. Pradip Mondol killed my son. He was a part of the RSS. It doesn’t matter that he lost his life too, but he is responsible. I was once a part of Congress and in the opposition but we never resorted to this. I am with the Trinamool Congress now and Mamata Banerjee’s leadership doesn’t believe in violence,” said Liyakat Ali, adding that he wants peace to prevail in the area.
While the Basirhat seat was won by the TMC in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the BJP saw a lead of 114 votes in this area of Rajbari, which has 1,300 voters. This could be one of the reasons that led to the clashes between both parties.
While the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory expressing concern over the violence, the TMC said it was “politically motivated”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has maintained that the situation is under control and pinned the blame on the BJP for creating unrest.
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