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Cooch Behar: BJP leader found dead, party workers go on rampage

The deceased was identified as BJP mandal president Amit Sarkar. “Pishi's ‘khela hobe’. Amit Sarkar, Dinhata town mandal president was hanged to death by TMC goons just 72 hours before the first phase of polling.

Three days before West Bengal goes to the polls, a BJP worker was found hanging near the party office in Dinhata town in Cooch behar district on Wednesday. The Opposition party blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress, which said the allegation was “baseless”.

The deceased was identified as BJP mandal president Amit Sarkar. “Pishi’s ‘khela hobe’. Amit Sarkar, Dinhata town mandal president was hanged to death by TMC goons just 72 hours before the first phase of polling. People of Bengal to take a decisive step against this bloodthirsty govt who is responsible for more than 130 BJP worker’s murder,” tweeted BJP Bengal, criticising Mamata Banerjee and her party’s election slogan “khela hobe [the game is on]”.

The police said Sarkar left home on Tuesday evening. His body was found hanging on the balcony of Dinhata Animal Hospital on Wednesday morning, according to the police.

“Amit Sarkar was found hanging on the veranda of a veterinary hospital in the Dak Bungalow area of Dinhata. The body has been sent for post mortem. The actual cause of death and timing will only be ascertained once we receive the report,” said a police official.

When the police tried to take his body for autopsy, they faced a massive protest from BJP workers, who burnt tyres and blocked roads to stop the police from leaving with the body. Some TMC party offices were also vandalised.

The protesters allegedly pelted stones at the police, who retaliated with a baton-charge to disperse the demonstrators.

The situation grew more tense as angry TMC workers demonstrated outside the local station to protest against the attacks on their party offices. Local TMC MLA Udayan Guha led a sit-in outside the station.

A huge police contingent and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) were deployed at the spot to control the situation. Central Armed Paramilitary Forces and the police have been deployed in various parts of Dinhata town to maintain peace and order, according to officials.

Accusing the TMC of murdering Sarkar, the BJP claimed that local workers of the ruling party had called him outside on Tuesday evening. BJP state general secretary (organisation) Amitava Chakraborty said, “For Mamta, it is the only political gimmick to prevent the upcoming defeat. The EC should look into the matter, it’s a matter of grave concern.”

BJP IT-Cell chief Amit Malviya took to Twitter to express anger over the incident. “Is this what the TMC meant by Khela Hobe? Bengal has been reduced to blood field with political killings becoming the norm. BJP has lost over 130 of its cadres,” he posted.

Dismissing the accusations, TMC leader and north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh said, “The allegations are baseless and politically motivated to malign us.”

(With PTI inputs)

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