A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker was allegedly beaten to death in the Khanakul area of West Bengal's Hooghly district after clashes broke out between two groups over hoisting of the Tricolour on Independence Day, said reports.
The BJP has alleged that the 40-year-old party worker, identified as Sudarshan Pramanik, was killed by members of the ruling Trinamool Congress Party (TMC). However, the TMC has denied these allegations and blamed in-fighting within the saffron party for Pramanik's death.
According to a report in The Indian Express, there is heavy deployment of police in the area as the situation remains tense. The police have also detained eight persons in connection to the case.
"A clash broke out between locals over hoisting the Indian flag at Khanakul in the morning. A man was killed when he was attacked with bamboo sticks. We have detained eight persons for interrogation," the Hindustan Times quoted Tathagata Basu, Superintendent of Police of Hooghly district as saying.
According to The Indian Express report, while the police have not mentioned the political affiliations of those involved in the clash, locals claimed that members of the BJP who had gathered to hoist the National Flag were stopped by another group. A scuffle soon broke out as both the parties wanted to hoist the flag at the same spot. The two sides pelted stones at each other, claimed locals.
According to the Hindustan Times report, BJP general secretary claimed that 108 BJP workers have been killed till date. "Such incidents will continue till the TMC is in power," he said.
The West Bengal BJP has called a 12-hour bandh in the area, demanding the arrest of those involved in the incident.
"They cannot stop the BJP like this. We condemn this incident in the strongest of words. We will do a movement against this until the culprits are arrested," The Indian Express quoted BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha as saying.
The TMC however denied these allegations, blaming the incident on an internal feud within the BJP. "They are trying to gain political mileage over this death. It is a fallout of their internal feud," said Hooghly TMC president Dilip Yadav.
Last month, BJP leader Debendra Nath Ray, was found hanging near his home in Hemtabad area of North Dinajpur district. Then too, the BJP had blamed "TMC goons" for his death while the TMC had denied the allegations, saying it was for the police to investigate the cause of Ray's death.
With inputs from PTI