At least 22people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence.
Amid a snowballing political controversy over Birbhum killings, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said she will visit the district on Thursday. PM Modi has condoled the violence and urged state government to take strict action.
Here's your 10-point guide to this big story:
Post a comment
Targeted by the BJP over the killing of eight people in the Bogtui village of Bengal's Birbhum district, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said "such incidents have happened in Gujarat and Rajasthan too" and assured action "in a fair manner".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the Birbhum violence today. "I express my condolences over Birbhum violence. Whatever help is needed to book culprits, I assure all possible help from Centre to State. I hope state government takes strict action against culprits, and those who encourage such criminals should not be forgiven too," said PM Modi.
A BJP delegation led by Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, was stopped from visiting the spot in West Bengal's Birbhum district as police had put up barricades just outside Bogtui village, news agency PTI reported. Mr Adhikari has alleged that these are attempts to shield the culprits by removing evidence.
On BJP leaders visiting the spot, Ms Banerjee had earlier said: "This is Bengal, not Uttar Pradesh. I had sent a delegation of Trinamool to Hathras (where a young woman died in 2020 after being gang-raped) but we were not allowed entry. But we are not stopping anyone from coming here."
Horrifying videos showing charred bodies, including those of women and children, have surfaced on social media. The BJP has said this is not an isolated incident and accused the ruling Trinamool of orchestrating the killing of political opponents. It has also demanded President's rule in the state.
The BJP has raised its pitch against Trinamool Congress, claiming it's the latest in a long list of political killings in Bengal. The party has demanded Mamata Banerjee's resignation and an investigation by central agencies. "More than 200 BJP workers have been killed so far in the state. What is the government doing? This can't be tolerated," BJP MP Dilip Ghosh told ANI.
The Calcutta High Court today stepped in and decided to take up the case. It ordered the state government to immediately install CCTV cameras with adequate storage facilities covering all angles of the scene of the crime in the presence of the district judge. It also ordered a Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) team to visit the site and collect required evidence for forensic analysis.
The High Court directed the police to ensure adequate protection for witnesses so that they are not threatened or influenced. The court, however, turned down the demand for a CBI probe saying the state should be given a chance first.
The charred bodies were found on Tuesday morning at the village Rampurhat in Birbhum, hours after a mob locked people in their homes and set them on fire allegedly in protests over the murder of a Trinamool Congress leader, Bhadu Sheikh. Seven of one family were found dead in the burnt homes.
At least 22 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence. 11 were arrested the same day. "We are grilling them to find out if there were more people involved in the incident. Some accused seem to have fled the village. We are trying to trace them," a senior police officer said. He also stated that forensic experts were examining the ravaged houses to get an idea about the "nature of the mishap".