Kolkata: In a shocking incident, at least 10 people are feared to have been burnt to death at Rampurhat in Birbhum of West Bengal on Tuesday. According to local sources, a mob murdered a local panchayat leader at his residence on Monday, and as a result, violence erupted, with several houses set ablaze in an alleged act of vengeance. Tensions are now high in the area as the killers are yet to be identified.
The CPI(M) alleged the victim’s houses were set ablaze to avenge the killing of Bhadu Sheikh, a TMC panchayat leader, on Monday. Sheikh was killed after crude bombs were hurled at him in Rampurhat.
The Times of India reported a mob gathered in Baguti village and attacked and set fire to houses after news of Sheikh’s killing.
A total of 10 houses caught fire. The fire department claimed 10 bodies had been recovered so far. Earlier, firefighters who rushed to the spot claimed 10 women and two children were killed.
Forensic experts have rushed to the spot.
The Fire officials said that a total of 10 dead bodies have been recovered, with 7 retrieved from a single house.
None of the houses in the area has been left with a single male member after the killings. According to him, this is one of the biggest political violence that has taken place in recent times in West Bengal.
Local sources said that many were locked inside their houses before the buildings were set ablaze by the attacking mob. Police are now at the location and an investigation is underway.
However, Anubrata Mandal, district president of the TMC, denied there was any murder or violence and claimed the fire was triggered by a short circuit.
The BJP alleged the incident was akin to the mass killing of the era of CPI(M) rule. The BJP demanded the imposition of the President’s Rule in West Bengal.
If it is confirmed the fire was set deliberately, it would be the first mass political killings since Mamata Banerjee took over as chief minister in 2011. In 2007, there were incidents of mass killings in Nandigram.
This is not the first time an event of political violence is taking place in West Bengal. BJP, Congress, CPI(M), TMC and ISF were up in arms over the violence which claimed at least 16 lives after the declaration of poll results last year.
The Calcutta HC agreed to order a CBI probe in cases of murder and crimes against women on August 19. It also entrusted all other cases referred by the NHRC to an SIT comprising IPS officers Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranbir Kumar. Directing the state government to hand over all documents and records to the investigative agencies, it warned that any obstruction in the course of the probe will be taken very seriously.