TMC leader shot dead in Bengal, 24-hour bandh called



A Trinamool Congress leader was shot dead at a railway station in West Bengal's Hoogly district on Saturday morning, police said.

Dilip Ram, a local Trinamool leader and the husband of a Trinamool Gram Panchayat Pradhan in the district, was allegedly shot in the head while he was waiting to catch a local train at Hoogly's Bandel junction railway station at around 10 a.m.

Protesting against the killing of their leader, the state's ruling party has called a 24-hour bandh in the district's Chinsurah city on Sunday. 

The deceased, a railway employee, was posted in North 24 Parganas district's Naihati and used to travel to his workplace by train every day, his party sources said.

Following the incident, Ram was rushed to a local hospital. He was referred to a Kolkata hospital as his condition was critical but succumbed to his injury on the way, police said.

"Ram was shot at Bandel station today morning and later succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital. We are investigating the incident. A case has been registered under the Bandel GRP while keeping the police commissioner's office in the loop.. No one has been arrested yet. We are trying to locate the miscreants," Chandannagar Police Commissioner Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi said.

The Trinamool Congress and the BJP traded charges against each other following the incident.

"He was previously threatened multiple times at gun point by local miscreants. Police was informed that Ram's life was under threat. But they did not take any initiative for his protection. He was shot dead while going to work today. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been informed about the incident," Trinamool's Hoogly district chief Tapan Dasgupta said.

"BJP backed miscreants are behind the killing. We have asked the police to take adequate action," he said.

The local Trinamool leadership also accused the police of inaction and said the incident could have been averted if the police had taken some preventive measures.

Echoing Dasgupta, the deceased's wife also claimed that her husband was threatened by local BJP workers many times since the 2019 parliamentary poll results were announced on May 23.

"He was threatened at gun point on the very night the 2019 poll results were declared. Three persons -- Biju Paswan, a local strongman, Arjun Singh and Satish Misra threatened to kill him that night. He somehow managed to escape. All three are BJP workers," she alleged.

The saffron party has, however, refuted the charges and claimed that the incident was the result of the Trinamool's faction fight.

"BJP does not believe in politics of murder and killing. We do not have any connection with any hooligans or strongmen in Hoogly district," party district president Subir Nag said.

Hoogly's BJP MP Locket Chatterjee claimed that Ram was murdered due to infighting in the Trinamool Congress over 'cut-money'.

"It is evident that he was murdered by his own partymen. There was a clash between him and Paswan's family over the possession of cut money. We do not care whether he was from BJP or Trinamool. It is always sad to see a son of Bengal getting killed like this. There should be a thorough probe into the incident and the offender should be punished," Chatterjee said. IANS