The Calcutta High Court took suo motu cognizance of the Birbhum arson case on Wednesday. The court will hear the matter at 2 pm. While admitting the case, the court observed that the crime was “serious in nature” and “unfortunate”.
The Bengal BJP had approached the Calcutta High Court over the incident in Birbhum on Tuesday.
BIRBHUM ARSON CASE
Nearly a dozen houses were set ablaze in Rampurhat village in Bengal’s Birbhum district on Tuesday, killing at least eight people, including two children. The incident took place soon after the alleged murder of TMC panchayat leader Bhadu Pradhan, who was attacked with crude bombs by unknown assailants the day before.
A special investigation team has been formed to probe the matter and the Centre has sought an urgent report on the incident. At least twenty arrests have been made in the case so far.
After the incident, locals in Birbhum are leaving their homes and moving to other places.
“We are leaving the houses, in view of security. My brother-in-law died in the incident. Had there been security by the police, this incident wouldn’t have happened,” a villager was quoted by ANI news agency.
At least 20 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence in West Bengal’s Birbhum district that claimed eight lives, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.
Eleven people were arrested the same day for their alleged involvement in the incident.
“With nine more arrests, the number of those who have been nabbed in the case rose to 20. We are grilling them to find out if there were more people involved in the incident. Some accused seem to have fled the village. We are trying to trace them,” the officer said.
He also stated that forensic experts were examining the ravaged houses to get an idea about the “nature of the mishap”.
BJP vs TMC
The BJP has sought the resignation of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after the incident and demanded an investigation by central agencies.
BJP MP Locket Chatterjee claimed that around 20 people died in the incident “but no one knows the actual number because no one is being allowed to enter Birbhum”.
Meanwhile, CM Mamata Banerjee urged Governor Jagdeep Dhankar to refrain from “making unwarranted statements” after he said that the violence in Birbhum indicates an “alarming” law and order situation in the state.
Marjina Bibi, an eyewitness to the events of March 22 in Birbhum, said that seven bodies were found in the house next to hers. When she got home on Tuesday, she could hear people screaming and there was no sign of the police.
According to her, none of the locals dared to douse the fire as they were afraid.
(With inputs from PTI)