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BJP brings Kolkata suburb to a halt over leader’s murder, clashes break out in Barrackpore

In Kolkata, national BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya and MPs Locket Chatterjee and Soumitra Khan marched towards Raj Bhavan with Manish Shukla’s body Monday evening.

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Kolkata: A 39-year-old BJP leader was shot and fatally injured Sunday evening at Titagarh in Barrackpore, West Bengal. Manish Shukla, a former member of the Trinamool Congress who joined the BJP last year, was a local councillor.

He was shot by unidentified assailants outside the Titagarh police station around 8 pm. Shukla, who was critically injured, was subsequently taken to a private hospital in Kolkata, around 20 km from Titagarh, where he passed away. His body was then sent to the government-run Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital in the Bengal capital.

The murder set the stage for a face-off between the BJP and Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, with both parties trading allegations. Police, however, said they are probing all angles “including personal enmity”. 

West Bengal Police issued a statement saying the victim was accused in some cases of “murder and attempt to murder”. 

The case will be investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal Police. 

Shukla’s killing sparked tension in Barrackpore, with the BJP calling a 12-hour strike and blocking several roads and highways. 

Multiple police personnel sustained injuries as they tried to remove the blockades and chase away crowds in Barrackpore. The protesters pelted police with stones, bricks and bottles. Police lathicharged the crowd and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the agitating mob. 

“There were several incidents of clashes today. Probe is going on,” said Barrackpore commissioner of police Manoj Verma.  

In Kolkata, national BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya and MPs Locket Chatterjee and Soumitra Khan marched towards Raj Bhavan with Shukla’s body Monday evening. BJP MP Arjun Singh, who is believed to have considered Shukla his closest associate, was in the march too. 

The body was only allowed to be brought near the Raj Bhavan, not inside. 

Earlier, they had gathered outside the hospital, with reports of BJP workers clashing with Kolkata Police to demand entry into the hospital. Vijaywargiya and Chatterjee were subsequently allowed inside, but the party cried foul over allegedly being denied the body for hours. 

Shukla’s father, who was part of the BJP march to Raj Bhavan, said he wanted a CBI inquiry. “Nineteen bullets were pumped into my 39-year-old son’s body. I want a CBI inquiry into it. I have no faith in state police,” he added.


Also Read: Bombs, bullets fly as Covid-19 lockdown fails to end violence in ‘politically-charged’ Bengal


‘Insensitive approach’ 

In the morning, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had taken to Twitter to criticise police and the Bengal government over the “deteriorating” law-and-order situation in the state, also referring to “targeted political killings”. 

He summoned the chief secretary and director general of police to Raj Bhavan. Chief Secretary Alapan Banerjee met the governor in the morning. 

In the afternoon, Vijaywargiya met the governor at Raj Bhavan. Talking to The Print, he said, “We have lodged our protests with the constitutional head. The autopsy wasn’t done even after 20 hours of the murder. The family members were waiting to collect the mortal remains.” 

After meeting Vijaywargiya, the governor again posted a tweet, lashing out at the alleged “delay” in handing over Shukla’s body, accusing the Mamata government and West Bengal Police of having an “insensitive approach”.

Blame-game begins

West Bengal Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim said the murder was a result of “infighting”. 

“We also wanted to know why Manish was killed. I knew him. He worked with us during elections. He was forced to join the BJP by Arjun Singh. He was sending feelers to us and he wanted to re-join,” he added. 

Denying these allegations, Arjun Singh said Shukla was murdered by “supari killers”, and the “weapon was taken from a police armoury”. 

Vijaywargiya added, “Senior IPS officers are involved in this crime and we demand a CBI inquiry.”


Also Read: Mystery shrouds Bengal BJP MLA’s death as family claims murder, police cite suicide note


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Momta begin has turned Bengal into a lawless state where BJP leaders are killed every week. IMPOSE PRESIDENTS RULE THERE AND PUT THE CRIMINALS BEHIND BAR.

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