KOLKATA 5 OCT: A BJP leader was shot dead on Sunday by unidentified assailants in North 24 Parganas’ Titagarh area. Now, mystery shrouds over the death of BJP MP’s close aide, Manish Shukla of Barrackpore. BJP leaders criticise the TMC government, accusing the party of murdering Shukla. However, TMC claims that Shukla wanted to rejoin TMC and that’s the main reason he was murdered by his own men. The Barrackpore area observed a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in protest against the local BJP leader’s murder on Monday.
BJP MP Shot dead in public
Shukla was shot dead near Barrackpore, 20 kilometres away from Kolkata. This took place while he was talking to his local party workers near a police station. He was shot dead by masked gunmen who opened several rounds of fire.
A day after Shukla’s murder, the ruckus was seen to be growing in the streets of Kolkata. A huge crowd of BJP leaders outside NRS Medical College and Hospital demanded the immediate release of the mortal remains of the body. It may be noted that it took over 20 hours to hand over Shukla’s body.
As a result of this huge crowd, traffic snarls, road blockades were seen in Central Kolkata with huge police deployment. The situation at Titagarh remained tensed as BJP called a 12-hour band in protest against the murder.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders called for a CBI enquiry into the death of Manish Shukla. However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led party refuted all the charges levelled against the party. The state government has instructed to conduct a CID enquiry in this case, instead.
Bengal Governor summons top officials, tweets angrily when summons go unheard
Soon after the incident, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police Virendra, to the Raj Bhavan at 10 am. In his tweet, he mentioned that criminal jurisprudence thoroughly sacrificed and it is an all-out effort to cover up and fishing for alibis.
Here is Dhankhar’s tweet on this regard
Dhankar tweeted, “ACS Home @MamataOfficial and DGP @WBPolice have been summoned at 10 am tomorrow in the wake of worsening law and order situation leading to the dastardly killing of Manish Shukla, Councillor, Titagarh Municipality in the political party office.”
Dhankar continued to allege about the “targeted political killings in spite of alert by constitutional head”. He claimed that the state police did not respond to his summons.
Here is a tweet by Dhankhar on this regard
It may be mentioned that the West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have not seen eye to eye over several issues in the past.
Police stops BJP leaders from visiting Raj Bhavan
The protestors decided to take the mortal remains of the body to Raj Bhavan. They were stopped midway by the police at Janbaazar and the BJP leadership was informed that only three persons would be allowed to go to Raj Bhavan along with victim’s father. Soon, a scuffle broke out between DC traffic and BJP leadership as they were not allowed to enter the Raj Bhavan.
Locket Chatterjee, BJP leader, said, “They are deliberately trying not to allow us to visit Raj Bhavan. And the police have deliberately kept empty buses on the road to create traffic snarls.”
Quickly soon after, police got reinforcement near the New Market area. They stopped the rally and began with their negotiation with the BJP leaders. Finally, after a heated argument, police allowed few BJP leaders, including the victim’s father to meet with the Governor. The delegation included senior BJP leaders, and Shukla’s father. The hearse van stayed near Lalit Hotel meters away from the Raj Bhavan.
BJP national general secretary and Central Observer for West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya, said, “It is shameful that the TMC has now started politics of annihilation of political opponents. We don’t have any faith in local police as this happened in front of the police station. We want a CBI inquiry.”
Who was Manish Shukla
- Manish Shukla quit Trinamool Congress and joined the BJP in 2019
- Shukla was close to BJP MP from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh (Singh had also defected from the Trinamool Congress in 2018)
- Shukla was also the sitting councillor of Titagarh municipality.
- Shukla had a huge support base in Titagrah-Barrackpore area (Singh garnered his support to increase their vote bank in the area)
In a tweet, Arjun Singh wrote, “Manish was my younger brother, always stood with me as my shield. Today he is martyred for the land of Bengal, Barrackpore and Bengal will remember this sacrifice. TMC, its leaders and police will all have to bear the brunt of this mistake and misdeeds.”
Here is Singh’s tweet on this regard
Sources in the state BJP said that Shukla used to work for Singh. He played a crucial role in helping Singh increase the leadership of BJP in Barrackpore -Titagarh area. Earlier, in two occasions, Singh was targeted, too, by unknown miscreants. Singh was too shot at but he escaped his death on both the occasions.
Singh even questioned the state’s law and order situation.
Here are few tweets of Singh on this regard.
TMC’s point of view on Shukla’s killing
Trinamool Congress claimed internal feud inside BJP has led to Shukla’s murder. Shukla had decided to re-join TMC, which aggravated a section of BJP leaders. TMC leaders claim that is the reason Shukla was murdered in cold blood.
Firhad Hakim, Mayor of Kolkata, said, “There are several questions which remain unanswered. What exactly prompted BJP leader Vijaywargiya to call Arjun Singh at the time of murder. Why Arjun Singh was present in Shukla’s car. It seems like a planned murder as Shukla wanted to re-join TMC.”
Meanwhile, Arjun Singh blames Hakim for murdering Shukla. Singh said, “We will see how his men remain scot-free. Hakim has used his men to murder Shukla.”