New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hoped that the West Bengal government would take strict action against the culprits who burnt down nearly a dozen homes in a village two days ago and killed eight people.
Modi told the “people of Bengal” not to forgive these criminals or “those who encourage them”.
Condoling the deaths, Modi offered the state all possible help to punish the culprits.
In the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, an angry mob set ablaze houses in village Bogtui, Rampurhat which was home to killed Trinamool panchayat leader Bhadu Sheikh.
The arson took place just hours after Sheikh was declared dead from a bomb attack. Of the eight dead, seven were from the same family. Their bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has constituted an inquiry team and will visit the site on Thursday.
Banerjee also pointed out Wednesday that such “incidents” have happened in Gujarat and Rajasthan as well. “I am not justifying the incident in Rampurhat. We will take action in a fair manner,” she added.
The Opposition BJP has called these killings “politics of murder” and said the violence was in retaliation to the death of Sheikh. BJP leaders have also accused the Trinamool Congress of muzzling opposition voices through orchestrated violence.
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said he could not visit the site because the police had set up bulwarks outside Bogtui village. Adhikari alleged culprits were being shielded and evidence destroyed.
Meanwhile, a Calcutta High Court bench headed by the chief justice ordered the state to install CCTV cameras with adequate storage facilities “covering all angles of the crime scene in the presence of the district judge”.
It also ordered a central forensic team to visit the spot and collect required evidence.
The High Court directed the police to protect witnesses so that they were not threatened or influenced.
Twenty people have been arrested so far, and two local officials including the police officer in-charge suspended.