Business Standard

Birbhum toll rises to 9 as woman dies in hospital; suspensions in assembly

A woman who had suffered burns in the petrol bomb attack in Bogtui village in Birbhum district last week died in a hospital on Monday, raising the toll to nine, a police officer said.


Forensic experts collect samples from the house of Sona Sheikh where seven people were burnt to death keeping captive in their room, allegedly for avenging the killing of TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh, at Rampurhat in Birbhum district (Photo: PTI)

Press Trust of India Rampurhat/Kolkata (WB)
A woman who had suffered burns in the petrol bomb attack in Bogtui village in Birbhum district last week died in a hospital on Monday, raising the toll to nine, a police officer said.
The Birbhum killings also spawned violence in Bengal's legislature, with MLAs from the ruling TMC and the BJP exchanging fisticuffs after heated arguments over the Birbhum killings, prompting the speaker to suspend five saffron party MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari.
Out of the nine deceased, seven are women and two are children.
"The woman, Najema Bibi, who died today, had nearly 65 per cent burn injuries. Her condition deteriorated last night following which she was put on ventilation at the Rampurhat Government Medical College and Hospital. She finally succumbed to her injuries this morning," the police officer said.
Three persons, including a boy, are still undergoing treatment at the same hospital.
The CBI probing the case could not record Najema Bibi's statement on Sunday, as her condition was critical, a CBI officers told PTI.
Some eight people were burnt to death in the early hours of March 21, after unknown assailants attacked some 10 houses in Bogtui village near Rampurhat with petrol bombs setting them on fire. The attack is suspected to have been planned as revenge for the murder of a local TMC leader with its roots in rivalry over illegal sand mining.
As part of the ongoing probe, CBI officers questioned TMC leader and former Rampurhat Block -1 community head Anarul Sheikh for a second day as well as others who have been arrested in the case.
They also recorded one lone survivor Mihilal Sheikh's version of the burning incident, the official said. Former Sub-Divisional Police Officer Shayan Ahmed, who has been sent on Compulsory Waiting, a suspended official of Rampurhat Police Station and the doctor involved in treating the injured persons were also questioned, he added.
Samples collected from damaged houses in the village will be sent for forensic tests to ascertain whether any chemicals were used to set the houses on fire," the CBI official said.
Meanwhile, shortly after the House assembled at 11 am, pandemonium reigned as BJP MLAs trooped to the well, demanding a statement by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the "worsening" law and order situation in the wake of the Birbhum killings.
Speaker Biman Banerjee tried to pacify the BJP MLAs, who continued sloganeering inside the House, leading to a war of words with legislators of the treasury bench and an eventual ugly scuffle. Adhikari then walked out of the assembly, claiming that TMC MLAs roughed up his party legislators.
"MLAs are not safe even inside the assembly... At least 8-10 of our legislators were beaten up, including Chief Whip Manoj Tigga, by some TMC MLAs, as we demanded that the CM make a statement in the House on the law and order issue," Adhikari said.
The BJP claimed that Tigga has suffered a chest fracture and was admitted to a private hospital along with six other BJP MLAs.
TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim however rubbishing the claim, alleged the BJP had staged a drama to create chaos in the assembly. "Few of our MLAs were injured inside the House. We condemn the conduct of the BJP," he said.
Among those who were injured in the melee were TMC MLA Asit Majumdar, who had to be hospitalised.
While Majumdar claimed that Adhikari had punched him on the nose, the BJP leader denied the charge.
Adhikari, along with BJP legislators Dipak Burman, Shankar Ghosh, Manoj Tigga and Narahari Mahato, were suspended by the Speaker for the entire session till the House is prorogued.
Prorogation is discontinuing a session of Parliament or a legislative assembly without dissolving it.
"What happened today is completely unacceptable. The way in which the five MLAs behaved with the women staff of the House is a shame for parliamentary democracy," Speaker Biman Banerjee told reporters, adjourning the assembly sine die.
The BJP, however, denied all allegations, and accused the ruling TMC of letting loose a reign of terror in the assembly.
They are running the government in an authoritarian manner. We will not tolerate this," Adhikari said, adding, he will meet the Speaker with an appeal to revoke the suspension.
BJP West Bengal unit chief Sukanta Majumdar said BJP MLAs would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week in New Delhi and complain about the "lawlessness" in the state.
The incident brought back memories of opposition Left and ruling TMC legislators trading blows in December 2012 on the floor of the house, leading to injuries on both sides.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 29 2022 | 6:32 AM IST

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