Bengal panchayat members flee to Jharkhand fearing death

Tuesday 19th June 2018 14:56 EDT

Kolkata: More than 700 people, including elected representatives of the Bengal panchayat and their family members, have reportedly fled to the neighbouring Jharkhand fearing for their lives after allegedly being threatened by the ruling Trinamool Congress. Some BJP workers who took shelter in Bundu and Bokaro in Jharkhand have returned while a significant number of them are unable to return in the wake of the looming threats and the death of two BJP workers.

“Some 713 Bengal BJP workers took shelter in Jharkhand fearing that they will be attacked or killed by TMC workers,” said Deepak Prakash, general secretary of the Jharkhand unit of BJP. “I will not be able to reveal much about their whereabouts in Jharkhand due to security reasons. All of them are safe and are getting adequate protection,” he added. It was learnt that some of the elected panchayat representatives in Murshidabad, Burdwan, West Midnapore and Birbhum districts of Bengal have taken shelter in Sahibganj, Dumka and Pakur in Jharkhand. Others, who won from Purulia and Bankura districts, were learnt to be staying with their relatives or BJP workers in Ranchi, Bokaro and Dhanbad.

Senior BJP leader and Ranchi MP, Ramtahal Choudhary said that he had personally met some of these workers in Bundu area. “I have written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and requested his intervention so that they could return to their respective districts safely,” he said. Opposition leaders, including BJP and CPI(M), alleged that Trinamool cadres had unleashed terror after the panchayat poll results revealed that the challengers had managed to win a significant number of seats in the bordering areas, especially in Jangalmahal.

“Fearing death threats, they fled and took refuge in neighbouring states,” Bengal BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said, adding, “It is unfortunate that the ruling party cadre are making a mockery of democracy by threatening the elected members of panchayat.” Recently, the Jangalmahal area in West Bengal witnessed large-scale tension after two BJP workers were found hanging in Purulia. While the district police called them “suicides”, the BJP alleged they were murdered by ruling party members.

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