Claiming the death of BJYM worker Arjun Chowrasia in Kolkata’s Kashipur was a “political murder”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanded a CBI enquiry into it on Friday, as Calcutta High Court ordered a post-mortem to be conducted at the Command Hospital here.
Shah who is on a two-day visit to the state, visited Chowrasia’s home after news broke that the worker had been found hanging in an abandoned building in the area in mysterious circumstances.
The BJP leader who had crossed swords with West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee last year during a campaign for the elections to the state assembly, said the BJP party will demand “the strictest punishment” from the courts of law for “whoever is guilty of the gruesome crime”.
"BJP’s Arjun Chowrasia has been murdered politically. His family members claimed that he was murdered.
“Yesterday TMC celebrated one year of its third term in office … and the tradition of political violence and killing has again started," Shah claimed.
One of the main electoral planks of the BJP in last year's high decibel elections which saw the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC come back to power for a third term, winning over 213 seats, was the issue of political violence in the state.
The Home Minister also added that his ministry "is taking serious note of Chowrasia's death and has sought a report on it.”
He also said Chowrasia’s family had complained that his body had been taken away forcibly.
Shah said no one state in the country had witnessed so many cases being handed over to the CBI.
"It is an attempt to create a fear psychosis across the state. No other state has witnessed so many cases being handed over to the CBI. This only proves that courts don't have faith in police and state administration," he alleged.
Shah's comments drew sharp reactions from the ruling TMC, which wondered how the Home Minister had branded the death as “murder” even before a probe was over.
"Any death is painful, but how come the Union Home Minister is calling it a political murder even before the probe is over?
“Has he turned into a political astrologer? He should stop spreading canards against the TMC government," senior TMC leader and Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said.
The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered that post-mortem of BJYM worker Chowrasia, be conducted at the Army's Eastern Command Hospital here, after BJP leader and lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal moved the court on behalf of Chowrasia's mother.
A division bench presided by Justice Prakash Shrivastava directed that a specialist from AIIMS, Kalyani and the head of department from the state-run RG Kar Medical Hospital should be present.
The court also directed that the Chief Judicial Magistrate of South 24 Parganas district be present during the post-mortem and that the whole process be videographed.
The TMC meanwhile claimed Chowrasia was associated with the party and not the BJP.
Local TMC MLA Atin Ghosh, who also visited the spot ahead of Shah, claimed Chowrasia was associated with the party and had even campaigned for it during the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections held recently, which had earned him the wrath of a section of local BJP.
"BJP assembled outsiders during today's protest as it has no base in the area," Ghosh added.
BJP functionaries said Shah was upset after hearing the news of the 26-year-old activist's death. "Shah Ji told us to cancel his grand welcome at the NSC Bose airport and he has rushed to Chowrasia's residence," he said.
The BJP leader is in the city from north Bengal on the second leg of his two-day visit.
State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya on the other hand claimed that the man was an efficient BJP party worker. "We found him dead this morning. Chowrasia was to be part of a bike rally that was to be taken out from Kolkata airport to welcome Amit Shah Ji," he said.
Refuting the BJP charge, TMC MP Santanu Sen said, "The allegations against us are baseless. Let the police investigate the matter".
The police said an investigation into the death had started. Police officers faced protests from BJP activists at the spot as they tried to take away the body.
Later a large police contingent was rushed to the spot to control the situation and it took away the body to R G Kar Medical College and Hospital for post mortem.
TMC says Amit Shah trying to influence probe into BJPM worker’s death
Slamming Union Home Minister Amit Shah over his alleged attempt to influence the probe into the death of BJYM worker Arjun Chowrasia, the ruling TMC in Bengal on Friday urged him to ditch the "culture of vulture politics".
The party iterated that the top BJP leader should "focus on the law and order situation in BJP-ruled states, as the scenario here was far better".
Shah, who is in Bengal on a two-day visit, met the family members of Chowrasia, found hanging in an abandoned building in Kolkata's Kashipur, and demanded a CBI inquiry into his "political murder".
He maintained that the Union home ministry had taken cognizance of the incident and sought a report from the Bengal government.
Lashing out at Shah, senior TMC leader and minister Shashi Panja said, "He came to Bengal a year after the people of the state rejected his divisive politics. Now he is back with BJP's vulture politics. He should abandon this... The Union home minister, through his comments, is trying to influence the probe. He is spreading lies against the state government."
The Union minister, while talking to reporters during the day, said that political killings, attacks on opposition camp members were rampant in Bengal.
He also said that Chowrasia's family was manhandled and his body taken away by force.
Panja, however, said there was no need for an investigation by the central agency.
"He was saying that the body was taken away by force. Will the police not do their job by sending the body for post mortem? How can he make such a comment despite being the country's home minister? It is astonishing," she said.
Echoing her, senior TMC leader and Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya wondered whether the home minister was also an astrologer, having predicted that Chowrasia was murdered even before the probe got over.
"Any death is painful, but how come the Union home minister is calling his death a political murder even before the probe got over. Has he turned into a political astrologer?" she added.
(With PTI inputs)