Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Justice Arun Mishra has taken suo motu cognisance of the killings in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. The NHRC will conduct an investigation, officials informed, into the incident of murder and arson, visuals of which have traumatised the nation for the past three days.
Eight people, mostly women and children, were burnt alive at Bogtui village of Birbhum district early Tuesday in suspected retribution for the killing of a ruling TMC panchayat official.
The NHRC has issued notices to the chief secretary and the director-general of police, West Bengal, calling for a detailed report on the matter within four weeks including the status for the FIRs registered in the matter, steps taken to ensure the safety of the people in the village and any relief or rehabilitation provided by the state government.
Issuing the notices, the NHRC has also observed that going by the contents of the media reports, the incident of hate violence indicates that the law and order is not appropriate in the area.
Meanwhile, the doctors at Rampurhat Government Hospital, where the bodies were taken for post-mortem, stated that the condition of the bodies made their work very difficult. It is further stated that the presence of blood suggests that the victims were first physically attacked and then the houses were put on fire.
The incident has sparked national outrage, with West Bengal’s main opposition party BJP demanding President’s rule in the state.
Dubbing the killing as reminiscent of a “Nazi concentration camp”, the BJP Thursday attacked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying she showed no “mamata” (affection) and was “nirmam” (cruel).
Nearly a dozen houses were set ablaze in Rampurhat village in Bengal’s Birbhum district the day before yesterday, 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.
The state government formed a three-member special investigation team headed by ADG (CID) Gyanwant Singh to probe the matter.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report on the incident within 72 h.