In the Birbhum Violence, so far, at least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the Birbhum massacre, which is thought to have been sparked by the death of a local Trinamool leader.
Despite the fact that the Calcutta high court ordered a CBI investigation into the violence in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Friday, allegations of intimidation continue to surface.
Following the killing of local Trinamool Congress Panchayat leader Bhadu Sheikh on Monday, a mob burned eight people alive in their homes in Bogtui village in the Rampurhat area of the district, in an incident that has sparked widespread revulsion across the country and sparked a political firestorm.
Bhadu Sheikh’s family members are suspected of starting the attack by throwing petrol bombs at ten homes.
Mafiza Bibi of Rampurhat, whose mother was killed in the fire, claims that Sheikh’s men have threatened her. “They are saying when their people will come out of bail, they will kill us.”
“He openly said this to me. I have complained to the police. They have said they will come,”
According to sources, the woman will be given protection by the police.
This was discovered to be the common fear among villagers after an investigation was conducted throughout the village.
“If such threats continue despite the police being stationed there temporarily, it does not give us the confidence to return to the village,” they say, explaining why the village continues to remain deserted.
On Saturday, the special investigation team (SIT) handed over the case to a team of 30 CBI officials led by DIG Akhilesh Singh.
The officials were split into four groups and sent to the police station, village, hospital, and Sainthia, where the villagers are staying. The CBI team will attempt to gain custody of the 22 suspects who are currently in police custody.
The team has arrived in Rampurhat and is expected to question TMC leader Anarul Hussain, who was arrested in the case for “administrative negligence” after he surrendered on instructions of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Hussain’s supporters, on the other hand, have accused Birbhum TMC president Anubrata Mondal of being the mastermind behind the plot.
Meanwhile, a post-mortem examination revealed that the eight people who were burned alive in Bogtui village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, including three women and two children, had been severely beaten prior to the carnage. According to preliminary findings of forensic experts who tested the charred bodies found inside the houses that were allegedly set on fire by unidentified people early Tuesday, the victims were first severely beaten and then burned alive, according to preliminary findings.
Birbhum Violence Case Highlight:
Bhadu Sheikh is not the only member of his family who has died in the last year and a half. On January 5, 2021, his brother, Babar Sheikh, was assassinated. While the motive for the TMC panchayat leader’s murder remains unknown, villagers in Bogtui, Birbhum, pointed to a deep rivalry between two ruling party factions.
A police officer said, “On Monday evening, Bhadu went to his usual tea stall with bodyguards. His phone rang and he moved some distance away to take the call. Suddenly, six-to-seven attackers on two-three motorcycles arrived at the spot and hurled crude bombs on either side of Bhadu and one at him. They fled as he fell to the ground. Within half an hour of the incident, Bhadu’s supporters set fire to at least four houses in the village.”
According to locals, Bhadu used to be a member of the Congress but switched to the TMC after the state’s guard changed in 2011. He had since risen to become one of Rampurhat’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens.
A local TMC leader said, “After joining the TMC, he became a strongman for the ruling party. In 2018, he was elected as a member of Barshal gram panchayat and was made the deputy chief (upa pradhan).” It was alleged that after being made the deputy chief of the panchayat, Bhadu used to extort drivers of trucks laden with sand and stone chips at Rampurhut. A TMC leader in Birbhum claimed, “The extortion made him rich overnight.”
Bhadu made many rivals within the party as his personal wealth and political clout grew, according to a local.
An officer of Rampurhut police station said, “He used to move around with 10-12 bodyguards. They were heavily armed.”
Moreover, Tabela Bibi, Bhadu’s wife, said, “ They (victims of the alleged arson) set fire to their own houses and the police arrested my husband’s friends. Is this justice?”
Since the beginning of this week, tensions in West Bengal’s Birbhum district have been simmering.
The assassination of Bhadu Sheikh, a local TMC panchayat leader in Bogtui village in Birbhum, sparked violence on March 21, with several houses set on fire. The arson incident claimed the lives of at least eight people, while three others, including a minor, were hospitalised.
On the 22nd of March, 11 people were arrested after charred bodies were discovered in two homes. Many people in this village are starting to pack up and leave, fearful of the repercussions of the violence.
While some reports claim that the violence is the result of an intra-TMC feud, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claims that it is part of a larger plot to defame the state. However, this incident is quickly becoming a BJP-TMC issue, with not only Suvendu Adhikari and Dilip Ghosh criticising the state’s law and order, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself acknowledging the incident.