One Arrested in West Bengal’s Murshidabad Triple Murder Case
According to locals, the Pal family had moved to Jiaganj around six years ago.
The police on Monday, 14 October, arrested one person in the Murshidabad triple murder case that set the political temperature soaring in West Bengal.
Utpal Behra was arrested from Sagardighi's Sahapur area of Murshidabad district a week after the hacked up bodies of three family members were found lying in pool of blood at their home in Jiaganj, PTI reported.
The incident stemmed from acrimony between Pal and Behra over financial transactions, Superintendent of Police Mukesh Kumar said.
What’s the Case?
The bodies of Bondhu Gopal Pal, a 35-year-old primary school teacher, his wife Beauty, and son Angan were found inside their residence on 8 October in the Jiaganj area of the district.
According to locals, the Pal family had moved to Jiaganj around six years previously.
Pal also worked as an insurance agent and the accused Behra had bought two life insurance policies from him, PTI reported quoting the police.
The 20-year-old Behra alleged that Pal gave him the receipt for the first policy but was loath to give the receipt for the second.
“For the last few weeks, Pal and Behra used to quarrel over this matter. Pal even insulted him, following which Behra decided to kill him,” he said, adding Pal was facing financial problems for some time.
Behra knew Pal since the time he was a teacher at a primary school in Sagardighi, PTI reported.
Initially they had a cordial relationship, which soured after Behra suspected Pal of having duped him of his hard-earned money.
The weapon used in the crime has been recovered and Behra has confessed to his involvement in it, the SP claimed.
In the course of investigation, several residents of Jiaganj and Sagardighi complained that Pal had taken money from them but not deposited the premium.
Political Turmoil Over Case
The incident had acquired political overtones with the BJP and West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar hitting out at the Mamata Banerjee government over the killings, and the RSS claiming the teacher was its supporter. The victims' family, however, insisted Pal had no political affiliation.
Dhankhar, on 10 October, said the incident is reflective of the state’s law and order situation.
West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh on 13 October, told reporters that the ruling Trinamool Congress was "unnecessarily doing politics" with the gruesome incident.
Replying to a question, Ghosh said, “While the culprits are still at large, the TMC is politicising the incident, they are seeing politics in the BJP’s demand for an impartial probe into the triple murder.”
Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee countered the BJP saying the saffron party was politicising the "unfortunate" incident and state investigating agencies are on the job.
Police Denied BJP Connection
In a series of tweets, the West Bengal police stated that the case seems to be of personal enmity. They also said that the CBI has also been asked to get associated with the investigation.
“It has so far been found in investigation that the deceased person was also working as agent of some insurance and chain companies and was in a serious financial crisis,” wrote the police.
Earlier, speaking to The Quint, the local police had denied claims that Pal was linked to the BJP. News agency PTI quoted BJP and the RSS as saying that while Pal was not an active member, he participated in the weekly 'milan' programmes organised by the Sangh.
News agency ANI also quoted RSS’ West Bengal Secretary Jishnu Basu as saying that Pal was an RSS worker and had been recently associated with a 'weekly milan (meeting)'.
Senior party leaders Sambit Patra, Kailash Vijayvargiya and others also tweeted along similar lines.
BJP 'Seeks Time' from HM, President
The BJP sought time from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and President Ram Nath Kovind to apprise them about the “complete breakdown” of the law and order situation in West Bengal, party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said on Friday, 11 October.
Vijayvargiya, who is also the party's in-charge of West Bengal, criticised the state government over the killings and the alleged attack on BJP workers.
“We have sought time from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and President Ram Nath Kovind to apprise them about the worsening law and order situation in Bengal. People are being killed in broad daylight,” Vijayvargiya told PTI.
According to BJP sources, the party would prepare a memorandum with details of more than 80 BJP workers allegedly killed in the state in last two years.
BJP’s criticism also comes in the background of a priest’s body being found on the banks of a local river in Kolkata on Thursday, 10 October.
Politicians, Journalists, Others Condemn the Murder
Soon after the news made rounds all over the Internet, right from ministers like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Asaddidun Owaisi to journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai and Abhijeet Majumder took to Twitter to condemn the murder.
Babul Supriyo wrote, “Where is Bengal heading? Mamata Banerjee, do humans matter to you? Did we wish for this Bengal? The land where we pray to Goddess Durga and Kali, is the same where a mother and a child have been murdered.”
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari wrote, “Are you seeing what is happening” to “liberals who returned their awards.”
“Those who talk about mob lynching, why are you quiet? Those who raise illegal intruders, how will they bring justice to the Murshidabad crime? What is happening under Mamata's government?”
Swara Bhaskar, who has been vocal about several socio-political issues on social media also tweeted about the incident, terming it “utterly condemnable!”
(With inputs from PTI)
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(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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