Caught in A Political Firestorm, What Lies in Store for Bengal’s Rampurhat?

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The atmosphere is unsettling as one enters Baktui village of West Bengal’s Rampurhat area. This is where Trinamool Congress leader and panchayat deputy chief Bhadu Sheikh was killed on Monday evening. And this is where several people were burnt alive in an alleged case of arson afterwards. Houses too were charred.

The tense situation here prevails. Many villagers were leaving late on Tuesday, with everything. “We are scared; how will we live?” said one of them. “It’s better to leave our homes because this area is not safe.”

Others were not even answering the media’s questions.

A huge police team had assembled at the village. 11 people have been held so far in connection with the violence, said officials.

While a special investigation team (SIT) has been formed and a probe has begun, many are asking where the police were when the houses were burning.

Villagers say they will never forget Monday night.

The ruling TMC has called the whole incident a conspiracy. The BJP is trying to reach ground zero while blaming Trinamool for the violence.

The BJP has planned protests in the state on Wednesday and a group of MLAs is likely to visit Rampurhat. The party’s central fact-finding team is expected to reach West Bengal in the evening and go to the area on Thursday.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose and CPI(M) leader Md Salim will try to reach the spot on Wednesday, said sources.

Will the opposition political leaders be allowed to enter the area amid law and order concerns? That remains to be seen.

Politics is raging over Rampurhat. But the locals have no idea what awaits them.

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