Kolkata/Rampurhat: At least eight charred bodies were found from burnt-down homes in a village in West Bengal, hours after a local Trinamool panchayat leader was killed in a bomb attack Monday night.
The deceased leader Bhadu Sheikh was deputy leader of the Boroshal panchayat in Rampurhat, Birbhum district.
Soon after he was declared dead at the hospital, several people set ablaze homes in his village Bogtui.
A Rampurhat fire official told ThePrint on Tuesday morning: “We got a call at 10.13 pm alerting us about the blaze. Two fire tenders are still at the spot.”
Another officer said 10 to 12 homes were still burning when he reached the village at 8 am for the morning shift. “We have recovered seven bodies from one home. They are beyond recognition.”
Have sought urgent update on the incident from Chief Secretary.
My thoughts are with the families of the bereaved. pic.twitter.com/vtI6tRJcBX
— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) March 22, 2022
Birbhum district Magistrate Bidhan Chandra Roy was on his way to the village when ThePrint contacted him Tuesday morning. Additional forces have been positioned in the village which seemed very tense.
Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has set up a three-member team to probe the incident. These men are IPS officers Gyanwant Singh, Meeraj Khalid and Sanjay Singh.
On the ground, the sub-divisional police officer has been suspended and 11 people detained so far for arson.
Minister Firhad Hakim and local MLA Ashish Banerjee were also to visit the spot.
Bengal director general of police Manoj Malviya said an FIR has been filed for murder. “The probe team is at the spot,” he said, adding, “This doesn’t appear to be political rivalry.”
Trinamool spokesman Kunal Ghosh also tried to underplay suspicion that this was a political retaliation. He said, “There is no politics in the Rampurhat fire incident. It was a fight between villagers. The deaths are tragic. Political deaths are reported in BJP or NDA-ruled states. The situation in Bengal is better. A probe is on.”