Two of the six members of the RSS-linked stone-throwers in skullcaps who were caught in Murshidabad, West Bengal were sent to five days’ of custody. The remaining, all minors, were remanded in jail after being booked for serious offences writes the Telegraph newspaper.
At a news conference on Friday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed “shock” at “how low they (the BJP) can stoop” to malign a particular community and try to “set Bengal ablaze”.
Abhishek Sarkar, member of RSS student arm ABVP and the five others had reportedly been seen changing their clothes near railway tracks and hurling stones a passing train. The villagers nabbed them and handed them over to the police.
On Friday, the court of Lalbagh additional chief judicial magistrate Suparna Ray handed the police the custody of Abhishek and Prabhakar Saha, 22, member of a VHP family in Murshidabad town.
Sources disclosed the minors were sent to jail rather than a remand home because some of the penal code sections invoked against the six, such as 505(1)(b), were “serious”.
This section relates to “statement, rumour or report, with intention to cause… fear or alarm to the public… whereby any person may be coaxed to perform an offence against the state or against the public tranquillity”.
Among the other sections invoked are 143 (unlawful assembly), 419 (cheating by personation), 427 (mischief) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) apart from provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.
“I was appalled when I found out (about the incident). I called up Murshidabad police; they told me it’s true,” Mamata said. “This is what we have been dreading…. You can imagine how low they can stoop to set Bengal ablaze.”
Over the past few days, Mamta has been asserting at her rallies that the BJP, planning to malign a particular community, had been buying skullcaps to wear while inciting trouble during the protests against the amended citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.
“The law, of course, will take its course. But this is deplorable. Everybody must understand that this is the truth of their propaganda machinery,” Mamata said. BJP district president Gouri Sankar Ghosh continued to deny any links between his party and the six accused.
Radhamadhabtala residents said that Sarkar, a third-year BA student at the Subhas Chandra Bose Centenary College in Murshidabad, was a regular at BJP and ABVP rallies.
Sources in Murshidabad town said Saha’s late uncle was the VHP chief in Murshidabad and his father Gopeswar is a VHP member too. Saha is a photocopier, police sources said.
“Both Sarkar and Saha are known for their fundamental views and were appreciated by their district leadership,” an officer said. On Wednesday evening, a seventh member of the group, who was video-recording the stone-throwing, had fled after being accosted by the villagers. He remains untraced.
“The youths claimed they had worn Islamic skullcaps for their YouTube video But they could not prove the existence of any such channel,” district police chief Mukesh stated.
The Telegraph is founded and published in Kolkata, West Bengal since 7 July 1982