Two BJP workers killed in last 48 hours as political violence engulfs West Bengal after elections

Anish Mondal
Central force personnel conduct a march at a village in Birbhum following reports of clash between BJP and TMC on Saturday (PTI Photo)

The declaration of the recently held Lok Sabha election results on May 23 has set off a spate of violent incidents in different parts across West Bengal. The clashes between workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were reported from several Lok Sabha constituencies and alleged demolition of TMC party offices by BJP supporters also took place at several locations. The police suspect that violence would further intensify as BJP will hold victory rallies.

A majority of the post-poll violence related cases were reported from the Bhatpara Assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas, where there was a close contest between TMC’s Madan Mitra and BJP’s Pawan Kumar Singh. Singh, son of newly elected BJP Barrackpore MP and former TMC leader Arjun Singh, defeated Mitra by a margin of 23,104 votes. A number of shops were set on fire by unknown miscreants. On Sunday, Chandan Shaw, a BJP supporter was killed by unknown assailants in Bhatpara. Security forces have been deployed in the area and a detailed investigation is underway.

A party office of the ruling TMC was also ransacked at Naihati. The district administration had imposed section 144 in the entire district. West Bengal DGP (Director General of Police) Virendra also visited the area and met senior police officials of the district.

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Violence was also reported from Cooch Behar’s Mathabhanga block where Forest Minister Binay Krishna Burman was gheraoed outside the TMC party office by BJP workers. Burman was later rescued by the police officials.

Clashes were also reported from Jalpaiguri’s Paharpur, Alipurduar’s Shamuktala, Dakshin Dinajpur’s Gangarampur, Cooch Behar’s Sitai, Kolkata North, Kolkata South, Bankura’s Panchmura and Diamond Harbour. Besides, there have been reports of violence from Nadia’s Shantipur, Taherpur and Chakdaha, East Medinipur’s Panskura, North 24 Parganas’ Sandeshkhali, Birbhum’s Kankalitala, West Midnapore’s Narayangarh and South 24 Parganas’ Bhangar in the last 72 hours.

Earlier on May 23, 2019, the apex court had frowned upon the fact that poll time violence had become common in West Bengal irrespective of whichever party was in power. The top court said this while granting relief to BJP candidate Arjun Singh for five days from arrest.

On May 25, 2019, addressing a press conference in Kolkata, TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had accused the saffron party of orchestrating post-poll violence in the state. She also held BJP responsible for taking over the Chief Minister’s powers and also directed the party leaders to get back those offices by Monday (May 27, 2019).

The situation also prompted West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to intervene. In a statement, the Governor asked the citizens to maintain peace in accordance with the rich culture of the state.