Attack on Hossain a conspiracy, was being pressured to join another party: Mamata
Kolkata: Forming a special investigation team to probe into the attack on Minister of State for Labour Jakir Hossain, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson Mamata Banerjee accused the BJP without naming the party of attempting to kill the minister in a "planned manner" by hurling bombs at him at Nimtita station in Murshidabad.
Expressing her anguish over the incident, she held the railways responsible for the incident stating that "it cannot give up the responsibility as there was no RPF personnel at the station and the place was completely dark with no light".
She announced Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh financial assistance to those who received major and minor injuries respectively besides assuring that the state government would bear the entire cost for treatment of all 25 injured people, apart from the minister.
The explosion took place on platform number 2 at Nimtita station when the minister, along with around 30 people, was heading to catch a train for Kolkata. A team comprising forensic experts collected samples from the place of occurrence. Police registered a case at Azimganj Government Railway Police (GRP) station "against unknown persons" under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on charges of attempt to murder (307 IPC), voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means (326 IPC) and criminal conspiracy (120B) along with relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act.
Police after preliminary investigation suspect the explosive to be IED as pieces of wire and battery shells were found from the spot. Hossain underwent a five-hour long surgery at SSKM Hospital and doctors are keeping a watch at him.
The SIT headed by Additional Director General (ADG) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Anuj Sharma, is looking into the "nature of explosives/IED, trigger mechanism, apprehension of accused persons, conspiracy and planning to attempt to kill Hossain and others". The SIT, which will be assisted by the bomb squad, forensic and other experts, also comprises senior IPS officers including ADG South Bengal Siddh Nath Gupta, Superintendent of Police (SP) Jangipur Y Raghuvamshi and Superintendent of Railway Police (SRP) Howrah Pankaj Kumar Dwivedi. Personnel from the state's Special Task Force, Intelligence Branch (IB) and Counter Insurgency Force (CIF) are also in the team. Members of the SIT will visit the spot on Friday.
After visiting Hossain's family members at SSKM Hospital, Banerjee said that he has been receiving requests for the past few days to quit Trinamool Congress and to join another political party. "Why should he go? He is a committed worker of our party. Hossain's nephew told that remote control mechanism was used to carry out the explosion," Banerjee said adding that preliminary information suggests that it is an outcome of a deep-rooted conspiracy to kill Hossain, who provides employment by running a bidi factory and has huge popularity in the area.
"It seems that the election would kick off from Kolkata, Malda and Murshidabad and it is the sole reason behind the attack on Hossain to gain ground in the area in his absence. Knowing well that it is difficult to kill him by firing a bullet as he always remains accompanied by 30 to 40 people, they carried out the explosion," Banerjee said at Pailan in South 24-Parganas.
Terming it to be a rare incident, she said: "I was shocked watching the incident's video footage. The place was completely dark without any light and there was no police of the railways at the station and railways is solely responsible for the incident, in which three to four of them have lost their hands and legs, as it took place under their jurisdiction. But the railways did not contact us once."
Refuting the allegations, the Eastern Railway authorities claimed that RPF personnel were the first respondents and there was adequate light on the platform. The railways also assured all cooperation in the probe.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: "I condemn the dastardly bomb attack at Nimtita Railway Station in West Bengal. My prayers are for the quick recovery of the injured."
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar visited the hospital in the evening and wished fast recovery of the injured persons.