Ahead of Nadda's Bengal visit, political storm in poll-bound state over killing of BJP worker
The West Bengal Police on Tuesday rubbished the allegations of police firing as the cause of BYJM worker Ullen Roy's death during the 'Uttarkanya Abhiyan'.
KOLKATA: The ruling TMC and opposition BJP Tuesday sparred over the circumstances in which a saffron party worker was killed in Siliguri, with the latter demanding a CBI probe into the incident as the state government handed over the investigation to the CID.
The two parties pushed up the political heat in the state ahead of the assembly polls by locking horns over the December 7 killing, with BJP claiming that its worker Ullen Roy fell to police bullets during BJYM's 'Uttarkanya Abhiyan' (March to the north Bengal branch secretariat).
The claim was dubbed as "baseless" both by the police and TMC, which in turn accused BJP of bringing in armed men at the rally with the "malafide intention" to foment trouble in the state ahead of the assembly polls.
The West Bengal Police on Tuesday rubbished the allegations of police firing as the cause of Roy's death.
"As per the PM (post-mortem) report death was due to the effects of shotgun injuries. Police does not use shotguns. It's obvious that during yesterday's protest in Siliguri, armed persons were brought and they fired from firearms," the West Bengal police said in a tweet.
"The deceased received pellet injuries from a shotgun fired from close range by a person standing near the deceased in the protest program. This is unprecedented. Bringing armed persons in protest programs and inciting them to fire is unheard off (sic)," it added.
The state police said that there was an intention to create violence by the use of firearms and the CID has been asked to investigate.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the saffron party of "killing people in its rallies" and sought to know if it was done for propaganda.
"The BJP lies, kills people; it holds rallies and kills people. Are you doing it for publicity since there weren't many people in the rally? The police do not use these. Did you kill a man with pellets for the sake of publicity, for propaganda?" Banerjee said at a public meeting at the coal town of Raniganj.
The state BJP president Dilip Ghosh demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident to bring out the truth.
"Our party worker was killed due to shotgun injury. The allegation against us that we had brought in armed men is completely baseless and it is being said to cover up the police firing."
"If the state police is so confident of its statements, then why is it hesitant to hand over the investigation to the CBI," Ghosh told reporters.
Only a CBI investigation will bring out the truth, he asserted.
Reacting to Banerjee's allegation, BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said such comments prove that the state government is trying to hide the truth.
"Such kind of illogical comments that BJP in its rally is killing its cadres is not only laughable but also baseless. Such comments are made only to prove that the state government is trying to hide the truth. The rule of law has ceased to exist in West Bengal and goons dressed as police personnel along with the police attacked our cadres on Monday," he said.
Meanwhile, West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned state chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and directior general of police of West Bengal police Virendra and asked them to meet him by December 12 following the death of the BJP worker.
The BJP observed a 12-hour bandh in north Bengal in protest against the police action and the death of its party worker.
The shutdown evoked mixed response.
During the shutdown clashes broke out between the TMC and the BJP over alleged tearing up of hoardings with pictures of Banerjee.
The party also took out a candlelight march in central Kolkata to protest against the killing of Roy.
Election to the 294-member state Assembly is due in April-May next yeaMeanwhile, BJP president J P Nadda will pay a two-day visit to West Bengal starting Wednesday during which he will attend various programmes aimed at strengthening the party organisation ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.
In a statement, BJP national media incharge Anil Baluni said Nadda will participate in various programmes to strengthen the party's base in the eastern state.
The BJP president is undertaking a 120-day tour of the country to strengthen the party organisation.
He commenced his national tour from Uttarakhand on December 4, the party said.
During his two-day trip to West Bengal, Nadda will inaugurate the party's election office at Hastings in Kolkata and party offices in nine districts.
Nadda will also participate in the party's various community-wise outreach programmes under the 'Aar Noi Anyay' (no more injustice) campaign, which is part of the BJP's strategy to counter the alleged hegemony and gunda raj of the ruling TMC in the state.
The BJP president will also meet representatives from slum communities and discuss various issues concerning them, the party said.