Days after at least eight people were burnt to death in the wave of violence that erupted in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, the Calcutta High Court took suo moto cognizance of the incident. Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava is set to hear the matter on Wednesday at 2 PM, ANI reported.
Shortly after the alleged murder of Trinamool Congress deputy Panchayat chief Bhadu Sheikh in Bogtui village on Monday, violence broke out in Rampurhat, where an angry mob set at least eight houses on fire, resulting in eight deaths, including that of women and children.
A petition was filed before the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday, seeking an investigation into the incident by either the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Live Law reported.
The National Commission of Women has asked the West Bengal police chief to intervene and take stringent action against the perpetrators of the crime. The NCW also asked the DGP to inform it within 24 hours about the action taken in the matter, PTI reported.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that action will be taken against perpetrators of violence “irrespective of their political colours”. “Will be going to violence-hit Birbhum district on Thursday to take stock of situation, postponed visit as other political parties huddling there,” she said.
While the police have denied a political angle, Union Home Minister Amit Shah sought a report from the state government. A Special Investigation Team headed by ADG CID Gyanwant Singh was set up to look into the incident. At least 20 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence in Birbhum district, PTI reported.
The incident sparked a sharp war of words between the BJP and TMC in the state. Opposition parties targetted the state government for the “deteriorating law and order”, with the BJP walking out of the state Assembly in protest.
A delegation of BJP MLAs in West Bengal, led by Suvendu Adhikari, is set to visit the site of the violence on Wednesday afternoon. Adhikari will be joined by BJP MPs Arjun Singh and Jyotirmoy Singh Mahto, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Delhi, BJP MP Dilip Ghosh accused the state government of doing little to prevent the spread of political violence in West Bengal. “We are ashamed that such an incident took place in West Bengal. Innocent people, children were burnt alive, people are leaving the village. More than 200 BJP workers have been killed so far in the state. What is the govt doing? This can’t be tolerated,” he told ANI.
Two FIRs have been filed in the case — one over deputy pradhan Bhadu Sheikh’s killing and the other over the attack on the houses. Eleven people have been arrested in the second case.