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11 Held After At Least 8 Charred Bodies Found in WB's Birbhum; MHA Seeks Report

The houses were set on fire amid protests over the alleged murder of a leader from the ruling TMC in the state.

Updated
India
5 min read

Video Producer: Aparna Singh

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

Video Input: Bhaskar Mukherjee

At least 10 people were killed

The charred bodies of at least eight people people were recovered on Tuesday, 22 March, from a village in West Bengal's Birbhum district after nearly 10-12 houses were set ablaze.

The houses were set on fire amid protests over the alleged murder of a leader from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) named Bhadu Sheikh.

A team of CID officials reportedly reached the site of violence on Tuesday evening for a probe and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs sought a report from the state administration over the arson incident.

This comes after nine BJP MPs from West Bengal met Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking his intervention in the matter, news agency PTI reported.

West Bengal Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Malviya had indicated that eight people had died.

"This morning, seven bodies were recovered from one house. Initially, 10 deaths were reported, but the numbers were not correct. A total of eight people have died. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted," the DGP stated.

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11 People Arrested So Far, BJP Forms Fact-Finding Team

Malviya also said that 11 people had been arrested in the case so far.

"11 people have been arrested in the case. The sub-divisional police officer and chief inspector of Rampurhat have been removed," Malviya was quoted as saying by ANI.

He added that the houses were burnt on Monday night, about an hour after the TMC leader was reportedly murdered.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party formed a 5-member fact-finding committee comprising Sukanta Majumdar, Bharati Ghosh, Brajlal, Satyapal Singh, and KC Ramamurthy to collect evidence from the affected site and submit a report.

The delegations demanded the state government to provide relief to victims.

WB Governor Says Human Rights 'Decimated' in State

Meanwhile, WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took to Twitter to condemn the incident and said that human rights had been decimated in the state.

"Horrifying violence and arson orgy #Rampurhat #Birbhum indicates state is in grip of violence culture and lawlessness. Already eight lives lost [sic]," the governor tweeted.

He also said that he had sought an urgent update from the chief secretary regarding the incident.

In a video message, Dhankhar said that the incident indicated "nosediving of law and order in the state" and urged the state government to "rise above partisan interests."
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NCPCR Seeks Action Taken Report

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sought an action taken report from the West Bengal Police in connection with the incident within three days.

"TMC extremists in Rampurhat area under Birbhum District of West Bengal set ablaze multiple houses and as a result of which around 10 women and children were charred alive," the NCPCR letter to to Birbhum Superintendent of Police, Nagendra Nath Tripathi, read, according to ANI.

In the letter written on Tuesday, NCPCR requested him to "ensure the security of children".

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WB BJP Writes Letter Urging Union Home Minister To Take Action

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation in West Bengal wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging his intervention regarding the "unabated post-poll violence" in the state.

They claimed in the letter that over 50 BJP supporters had been murdered by TMC "goons" after the 2021 Assembly elections in the state.

Referring to the incident that took place on Monday, the letter said, "Strong note should be taken of the fact that the panchayat up-pradhan was killed after being attacked by bombs."

The delegation urged the home minister to "take cognisance of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, and take appropriate action as required to bring the spate of violence under control."

BJP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the state Suvendu Adhikari also alleged that there was a "freefall" of law and order in the state.

"Law & order situation across West Bengal is grave. 26 murders have taken place in the last one week in different parts of the state. Center should intervene and use Article 356 (President's Rule) or Article 355 to take the situation in their control in Bengal," Adhikari was quoted as saying by ANI.

To this, state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar had responded that Shah had assured them about seeking a report on the incident within 72 hours, after which a team will review the law and order situation.

Majumdar had said, "Union Home Min Amit Shah has assured us that he will seek a report of #Birbhum incident in 72 hours, post which a team will go there to review law & order situation," reported ANI.

"Mamata Banerjee should be held accountable, she's the CM. She should resign from her post," he added.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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Houses on fire - Sona Sheikh, Mihilal Seikh, Vanirul Seikh

Locals allege that Bhadu sheikh was killed because others did not like his rise to power and his influence

Locals further allege that villagers had stopped the firefighters from dousing the fire.

Rampurhat Incident is Unfortunate, Immediately Dismissed OC, SDPO: Mamata Banerjee

The government is ours, we are concerned about people in our state. We would never want anyone to suffer. The Birbhum, Rampurhat incident is unfortunate. I have immediately dismissed the OC, SDPO. I will go to Rampurhat tomorrow: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Birbhum incident

Noor ali, Bhadu Seikh's brother, has also left.

His brother, Babar Sheikh, was also killed on January 5, 2021. While the motive behind the murder of the TMC panchayat leader is still unclear, villagers pointed to the rivalry between two ruling party factions that ran deep in Birbhum’s Bogtui. The two groups have been at oddds with each other since the past three decades.

Bhadu's wife Tabela Bibi alleges that the victims set fire to their own houses and that the police are only arrested Bhadu's friends.

The police said two First Information Reports (FIRs) have been filed—one over the deputy pradhan’s killing and the other over the attack on the houses.

Sources said sections 302 and 120B (murder and criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) among others have been slapped against those arrested. In the case related to the recovery of the eight charred bodies, sections related to murder and arson has been filed. The case has also been filed under sections 325 and 326 (voluntary causing grievous hurt with weapons), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons) and 149 (unlawful assembly).

The dead have been identified as Jahanara Bibi (Doli), 38; Lili Khatun, 18; Sheli Bibi, 32; Nurnehar Bibi, 52; Rupali Bibi, 39; Kazi Sajidur Rahaman, 22; Tuli Khatun, 7; and Mina Bibi, 40. The first seven were relatives and their bodies were found in the one-storey house of Sona Sheikh. Kazi Sajidur and Lili Khatun were the newly weds.

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Topics:  West Bengal   Police   Jagdeep Dhankhar 

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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