BJP, Trinamool delegations visit tense Sandeshkhali in Bengal
Kolkata: A BJP delegation, led by the party's state President Dilip Ghosh on Sunday visited the troubled Sandeshkhali area in Bengal's North 24 Parganas district where at least three persons were killed in a clash between the saffron outfit and the ruling Trinamool Congress.
According to local residents, the clashes broke out in Sandeshkhali's Hatgachi area over forceful removal of BJP flags on Saturday afternoon.
The police has so far confirmed deaths of three political workers -- two from BJP and one from Trinamool Congress in the incident, though the two parties claim at least eight deaths.
State BJP sources claimed that five party workers -- Pradip Mondal, Tapan Mondal, Sukanta Mondal, Devdas Mondal and Shankar Mondal -- were shot dead from point blank range by TMC backed men, while 18 others had gone missing.
The TMC accused the BJP of fomenting unrest and killing at least three of its party workers, "two of whom were thrown into the river".
The state BJP leaders including Ghosh, Mukul Roy, Locket Chatterjee, Shantanu Thakur, Jagannath Chatterjee met the family members of the slain party workers and also visited the Basirhat Hospital, where the injured BJP activists have been admitted.
"The Basirhat Hospital authorities are deliberately delaying the process of handing over the dead bodies of our workers. We are waiting," Ghosh told IANS.
The BJP leader said his party would demand compensation from the Bengal government for the bereaved family. "We will continue our protest against this brutality. We will hold a rally here on June 12," he said.
BJP workers also blocked roads and held demonstrations in Bankura, Hoogly, Howrah, Midnapore, Malda, Barackpore, Naihati and North and South Kolkata. A number of BJP men were arrested while holding a protest near the party's state headquarters in central Kolkata.
Meanwhile, a Trinamool Congress (TMC) delegation comprising state Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick and senior leaders Tapas Roy and Madan Mitra visited the family of Kayum Mollah, one of the dead party workers.
With graphic images of those slain in the clashes circulating on the social media since Saturday night, internet services were suspended in the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency. A large contingent of police and Rapid Action Force personnel have also been deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incident.