Mob fury in Bengal village; Police chief confirms eight burnt alive

Kolkata, Mar 22 : dentified miscreants set houses afire killing at least eight people at Bogtui village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Tuesday, West Bengal Police Chief said. Fire brigade officials had earlier put the toll at ten in the incident, said to have taken place in retaliation to the killing of Badhu Sheikh, the deputy chief of Trinamool Congress-run Barshal panchayat. Describing the incident as horrifying, State Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said Bengal was “in the grip of violence culture and lawlessness” and sought an immediate report from the Chief Secretary. Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, however, said 12 people were killed in the incident in Rampurhat block, around 200 kilometer from Kolkata. “Horrifying violence arson and orgy at Rampurhat (Birbhum) indicates the state is in the grip of violence culture and lawlessness, Dhankar said on his Twitter handle. ” Already eight lives have already been lost. Have sought urgent update on the incident from the Chief Secretary,” the governor maintained. “My thoughts are with the families of the bereaved,” Dhankar concluded. While confirming eight deaths, Malaviya said some seven to eight houses were set on fire late on Monday night. Three people with burn injuries were taken to the hospital where one of them succumbed on Tuesday morning. He said the fire brigade officials on Tuesday extricated seven burnt bodies from a house. Malaviya ruled out any group clash in connection with the incident. He said so far 11 people have been rounded up. The DGP claimed that some personal rivalry might have led to the deaths. He said the investigation was on to ascertain the cause of fire and a special team was on the spot to probe the matter. The DGP said the situation was now under control. A police picket was set up to restore the confidence of the villagers. Badhu Sheikh was killed when four masked men hurled bombs at him on Monday evening. He was declared dead by medics at Rampurhat government hospital. After the news of Sheikh’s death came, the people at Bogtui village, furious over the murder of their leader, reportedly attacked the houses and torched them, sources said. One source claimed the fire started following a cooking cylinder burst, which razed the houses one after another. A three-member TMC delegation rushed to the spot following a directive from state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Adhikari demanded immediate central intervention into the incident. “The nightlong barbarity has lead to the death of at least 12 people till now; mostly women. Charred bodies are being recovered as of now. Administrative cover-up has already begun with attempts being made to lower the body count. Immediate central intervention required,” tweeted the BJP leader. TMC spokesman Kunal Ghosh said the government was acting fast on the incident, as the local police station Officer-in-charge was ‘closed’ and the Sub-divisional Police Officer stood removed. A Special Task Force team comprising IPS officers Gyanwant Singh, Miraz Khalid and Sanjoy Singh would probe the matter. Investigation was on to ascertain if it was an accident or sabotage, claimed Ghosh. Ghosh, however, clarified that there was a political link in the Rampurhat incident. PC SSP RN

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