The suspicious death of a BJP MLA in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district has widened the political divide in the region further with the BJP leadership blaming the Mamata Banerjee government directly for the suspected murder.
Debendranath Ray, who won the 2016 Assembly elections from the reserved seat of Hemtabad on a ticket of the CPI(M), joined the BJP last year after the Lok Sabha election. He had, however, not resigned from the assembly as CPI(M) legislator.
According to the local daily Anandabazar Patrika, Debendranath’s family has said that he was taken from his house at around 1 am on Monday morning by bike-borne men. He was found in the morning, a kilometre from his house. His body was found in the hanging position, and a hand was also tied, which led local BJP leaders to point to foul play.
The 65-year-old leader’s family has demanded a CBI probe, as have BJP. A video of his body has also been circulated by BJP through its Bengal Twitter account, claiming that he has been murdered.
The case has been taken up and tweeted about by Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar to BJP’s national chief J.P. Nadda and Bengal president Dilip Ghosh.
In successive tweets, Dhankar said that the death could not be peddled as a suicide by a “prejudiced” police. Police in the state is under the home ministry which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee controls directly.
Nadda, along with BJP’s national secretaries B.L. Santosh and Rahul Sinha, alleged the involvement of the ruling Trinamool Congress party.
Dilip Ghosh’s tweet also contained a video showing a crowd around the MLA’s body. The video is graphic in nature and may disturb some readers.
TMC’s Uttar Dinajpur president Kanaia Lal Agarwal, according to Indian Express, has denied his party’s involvement in Debendranath’s death and demanded an investigation into the case.
“This is a case of unnatural death. Now, only a probe can find out whether he committed suicide or he was murdered,” Agarwal was quoted as having said.
The investigation into the death is being carried out by Raiganj police. Debendranath’s body has been sent for post mortem.