Murder of a blue-collared worker in West Bengal is generating controversy with the police claiming he was killed in a drunken fight whereas the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleges he was killed for hailing Lord Rama.
The murder took place in Nadia district's Swarupganj village, about 150 km from the state's capital of Kolkata. The deceased, Krishna Debnath (31), reportedly worked in Chennai as a chef and had come home on a break. On Wednesday night, he was found unconscious outside a club in a badly beaten up condition. He was first taken to a local hospital and then to NRS Hospital in Kolkata, where he breathed his last on Friday.
Nadia BJP president Mahadev Sarkar and senior party leader Mukul Roy independently said Debnath was an active member of the BJP. He said the workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is in power in the state, assaulted Debnath as he would raise the slogan of "Jai Shri Ram". Roy, who visited Nadia after the incident, said the TMC has been intimidating the BJP workers and this time ended up killing one.
"It is nothing but terror tactics by TMC men to wean away our men from taking our God's name," Sarkar said.
In West Bengal, "Jai Shri Ram" has become the centrespot of controversy with multiple reports emerging about right-wing groups allegedly forcing people to raise slogans hailing Lord Rama. Election after election, the BJP is gaining ground in the state at the cost of the TMC's hegemony.
Police refute BJP's theory that the TMC workers killed Debnath for his Hindutva affiliation. Nadia superintendent of police Zafar Ajmal Kidwai said the murder has nothing to do with "Jai Shri Ram". He said an FIR has been registered and an investigation is underway to ascertain how he was killed. Prima facie, police say it seems he was killed after a row between two groups outside a liquor den.
The deceased's wife Supriya said her husband had stepped out of the house with three of his friends — Indrajit Debnath, Sankar Debnath and Gobinda Debnath — on Wednesday evening but when she called him a few hours later, a stranger answered the call and informed that her husband was being brutally thrashed. About 9 pm, the family found him unconscious and took him to a hospital.
The news of his death on Friday triggered protests in the region. Residents blocked the state highway, demanding immediate arrest of the accused. The FIR mentions the names of the deceased's three aforesaid friends as the accused.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said on Sunday the TMC is unleashing all forms of barbarism on BJP workers. He said the party members will not rest until "Didi Raj" is uprooted from the state.
TMC leader and state minister Ujjwal Biswas summarily rubbished the allegation of his party's involvement in the incident. He seconded the police's version that the deceased was drunk and his friends beat him up during an altercation.
The BJP has made significant gains in Nadia district, where it won one of the two Lok Sabha seats in the general elections. It was also ahead in several Assembly segments in the district. Having significantly expanded its presence in West Bengal, the party is looking to expand its influence ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections. This has brought it at loggerheads with the ruling party.
Updated Date: Jul 08, 2019 13:08:21 IST