Two Trinamool Congress workers on a motorbike were killed when bombs were hurled at them in West Bengal’s Birbhum district ahead of the panchayat elections, the police said on Sunday.
While the opposition BJP and the Congress alleged that the killings were a fallout of the TMC’s infighting, the ruling party pointed fingers at the grand old party of India.
The superintendent of police of the district was transferred within 24 hours of the incident, though the administration claimed that the move is not related to the killings.
TMC workers Newton Sheikh and his companion Laltu Sheikh, brother of the local panchayat chief, were going somewhere on a motorcycle when some people hurled bombs at them on Saturday evening, police said.
While Newton died at night, Laltu succumbed to his injuries at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, where he was shifted from Rampurhat Hospital in the district.
The relatives of the victims alleged that the bombs were thrown by goons of the Congress as the party was scared of the “increasing popularity” of the two in the area ahead of the panchayat polls due this year.
Countering their claims, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the party has little presence at Margram to be able to carry out such an attack.
“Everyone knows that the attackers and victims both belong to the TMC,” Mr Chowdhury claimed.
BJP national Vice-President Dilip Ghosh said, “TMC activists are attacking themselves and getting killed in the fight to get the spoils over cut money. The situation will end only after the removal of this regime.”
West Bengal minister and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim, however, denied there is any intra-party rivalry behind the killings.
Giving a twist to the incident, Mr Hakim wondered whether Maoists could be involved in the attack as Birbhum district shares borders with Jharkhand where the red rebels are active.
The police should investigate all aspects to find out how and why the two were attacked, Mr Hakim said in Kolkata.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government on Sunday transferred Birbhum district Superintendent of Police Nagendra Nath Tripathi and brought another IPS officer Bhaskar Mukherjee in his place.
A notification from the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ said Mr Tripathi has been asked to take over as an officer on special duty (OSD) at West Bengal Police Directorate immediately.
Mukherjee was the SP of the Sunderban Police District. He will be replaced by Koteswara Rao Nalavath, the SP (headquarters), Anti-Corruption Branch, the notification said.
A senior official of the state secretariat described the mini reshuffle in IPS ranks as “purely administrative” though it was effected within a day of the killing of two TMC activists.
Mr Ghosh claimed that IPS officers, “despite pledging loyalty to the ruling party”, are being shunted and it is a sad commentary over the prevailing situation.
“This cosmetic step will not help in unearthing the huge number of crude bombs stockpiled by the ruling party ahead of the panchayat elections,” the BJP leader said.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen, however, said it was a purely administrative decision.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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