A BJP fact-finding team today submitted its report to party chief JP Nadda on the recent massacre of nine people in West Bengal’s Birbhum, claiming “mafia rule” prevailed in the state with the connivance of police and political leadership, provoking sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who said the report will “weaken and interfere” with the CBI probe in the case.
The BJP team, including four former IPS officers, demanded central intervention for restoration of the “collapsed” law and order situation in the state.
The party had constituted a five-member team in the aftermath of the violence in Village Bogtui in District Birbhum where eight people were burnt alive while one more succumbed to the injuries a week later, after a mob set some houses ablaze allegedly in retaliation for the killing of a ruling Trinamool Congress leader Bhadu Sheikh on 21 March.
The panel comprised Rajya Sabha MP and former Uttar Pradesh police chief Brajlal, Lok Sabha MP and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh, Rajya Sabha MP and former IPS officer KC Ramamurthy, a national spokesperson for the party, former West Bengal cadre IPS officer Bharati Ghosh and state BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar.
In corroboration of the “mafia rule” conclusion, the BJP team furnished evidence to show that the law and order machinery has totally collapsed in West Bengal under the Trinamool Congress rule. Their report talks of a rule of the mafia in the state that’s run with the connivance of the police and political leadership.
Claiming that “state-sponsored extortion, goonda tax, cut-money and tolabazi (organised extortion)” were the main reasons behind the violence, the report said the Centre should intervene and direct officials of the All India Services like the IPS and the IAS to follow the rule of law.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Cong boss Mamata Banerjee reacted with expected outrage and alleged that the BJP wants to arrest all those who are against it.
Lashing out at the saffron party, Banerjee said the report mentions the name of Trinamool Congress Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, which “clearly shows the vindictive attitude of the BJP”.
“The BJP report on Bogtui killings will weaken and interfere with the probe. I condemn this attitude of the saffron party,” Banerjee told reporters in Darjeeling. She said there should be no interference from any political party in the investigation.
“When an investigation is on, there should not be any interference from any (political) party or any side. Investigation must be free and fair. Party interference at this moment is misuse and abuse of power which may distort the probe and people will lose their confidence in the investigation,” she said.
The Trinamool Congress supremo alleged that the BJP wants to arrest all political party leaders and their family members who are against it.
“Do they (BJP) think they will be the only party to stay in the country and keep on hiking prices of petroleum products everyday? They want to evict (all) political parties. In a democracy, this is not done,” she said.
Her party colleagues, while promising to cooperate with the CBI, which has been asked by the Calcutta High Court to probe the incident, had earlier warned of mass agitations if the BJP tries to influence the investigation.
“They have mentioned my district president’s name. This is biased and vindictive attitude. Without completion of probe, how can they name him? It shows they want him to get arrested. This is personal vendetta. They are hatching a conspiracy,” she alleged.
Talking to reporters after submitting the report to Nadda in the national capital, West Bengal BJP president Sukant Majumdar said the state urgently needs central intervention for restoration of law and order as “complete lawlessness” prevails and the state police is colluding with the ruling TMC.
The team alleged it was attacked during its visit and not a single officer or even a constable came to rescue.
“Our team has mentioned (in the report) what they had witnessed and heard after talking to people and the victims’ families. The Trinamool Congress is angry as it is afraid the truth will come out,” BJP West Bengal spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said in Kolkata.
The West Bengal government had constituted an SIT to probe the killings that sparked national outrage before the high court decided to hand over the investigation to the CBI.