Kolkata: Days after eight people were charred to death in the violence that broke out after the murder of a Deputy Panchayat Pradhan at Baguti village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday March 24 ordered the arrest of local Trinamool Congress leader Anirul Hossain for his involvement in the carnage, besides slamming the local police for not acting in time.
Three hours after Banerjee ordered the arrest of Trinamool block president for Rampurhat-1, Anarul Hossain, on camera while on a visit to the site of the mayhem, Hossain was taken into custody.
In her statement at the site, Banerjee said, “The kin of the victims said that they had telephoned Anirul and asked him to send police to Bagtui, but he didn’t.”
“I want him arrested. He can surrender, but otherwise I want him to be arrested immediately,” she told the Director General of Police, Manoj Malviya, at Bagtui.
Hossain is the first Trinamool member to be put behind bars for the gruesome violence that was allegedly triggered by the killing of deputy panchayat pradhan Bhadu Sheikh, a local strongman.
A resident of Sandhipur in Hooghly district, Hossain is said to have worked as a mason before he started his political career with the Congress.
In the Trinamool Congress, he is said to have been recognised for garnering grassroots support for the party. He has held the block president’s post since 2018.
Banerjee also slammed the local police for not acting in time and said that the problem could have been averted had the police responded to the calls.
“This incident could have been avoided had the police gone to the spot immediately. They did not fulfil their responsibility. Action must be taken against those who knowingly did not perform their duty,” the Chief Minister said.
However, Banerjee refused to rule out the involvement of outsiders in the violence.
“The police are investigating the matter from all sides. They are probing who all were involved. Was it a local issue or outsiders were also involved in it… The police have to check all the angles,” she said.
“The sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) knew what was happening, the inspector in-charge (IC) knew what was happening… but they didn’t take any action,” she added.
“There is a larger conspiracy here. I want continuous police picketing here,” Banerjee said.
Both the SDPO and IC have been placed under suspension.
There are strong speculations that Birbhum Superintendent of the Police, Nagendra Tripathy, might be placed under suspension soon, and Dhritiman Sarkar, who is presently posted in Bankura, might take over the charge in Birbhum.