West Bengal
Police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the crowd. Photo/ANI

Bengal clashes: BJP delegation claims 2 killed in police firing in Bhatpara

A three-member BJP delegation visited the trouble-torn Bhatpara area in West Bengal on Saturday and alleged that it was due to police firing that two persons lost their lives during clashes earlier in the week.

Led by former Union minister and Bardhaman-Durgapur MP S S Ahluwalia, other members of the delegation were newly-elected MPs and former police officers Satyapal Singh and B D Ram. Leaders of the state also accompanied them.

“We spoke to the family members and locals. We got portions of spent self loading rifle (SLR) bullets used by the police on Thursday to shoot the BJP workers,” Alhuwalia said. Two people were killed and 11 others injured in the town in North 24 Parganas district on Thursday after clashes broke out between two groups believed to be affiliated to the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The police is saying that they fired in the air. If they had done that, how can it hit humans?” he asked. “We will submit our detailed report to the party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He is concerned with the ongoing violence in the area,” he said.

The police and the ruling Trinamool Congress called the observation baseless. TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said that the BJP delegation’s visit was aimed at increasing tension in the area.

“What is the purpose of their visit?” he asked. “Section 144 has been in force in the area, but the BJP is visiting there. The police should have taken action against them for violating Section 144.”

A senior officer said that the BJP leadership had taken prior permission for the visit.
Earlier in the day, a joint delegation of the CPI(M) and the Congress, led by leader of Opposition in assembly Abdul Mannan, visited the troubled areas of Baruipara, Jagaddal, and Bhatpara. They demanded a CBI inquiry into the killing of two persons.

The BJP leadership had also demanded a CBI probe into the incident. It observed a statewide protest and demonstration against the killings on Friday.

A TMC citadel for long, Bhatpara has been witnessing frequent post-poll violence between the rival parties. The fight has intensified ever since Arjun Singh crossed over from the TMC to the BJP and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, under which Bhatpara falls.

In the by-elections to the Bhatpara assembly seat that were held along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh’s son, Pawan Singh, defeated the TMC candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.

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