The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday wrote to the Chief Election Officer of West Bengal demanding suspension of Deputy Commissioner of Kolkata Police (South), Akash Magharia. The saffron party alleged that DCP South molested BJP’s Bhabhanipur candidate Priyanka Tibrewal and state president Sukanta Majumdar during a protest at Kalighat, near Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee”s residence.
Alleging that apart from Majumdar, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, two other parliamentarians — Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato and Arjun Singh — were physically assaulted on Thursday evening during the funeral procession with the body of a BJP leader, it demanded the removal of Magharia from election duty.
The BJP wrote, “On the eve of September 23, 2021, when our electoral candidate Priyanka Tebrewal along with MPs Dr Sukanta Majumdar, Jyotirmoy Singh Mohanto and Arjun Singh was on a peaceful last rites procession of the latest victim Manash Saha, who succumbed to injuries suffered in the aftermath of the post-poll atrocity committed by TMC. The procession maintaining all Covid guidelines and restriction was peacefully proceeding when a huge number of police personnel resorted to unprovoked aggression and started charging towards the funeral progression.”
The letter added, “To our utter disbelief and shock, the police force led by DCP South Division, Akash Magharia, Kolkata Police took it upon him to break the funeral procession and physically started to drag, push, shove and everything within his physical prowess at Sukanta Majumdar. The same officer molested and inappropriately manhandled Priyanka Tebrewal and some women present. This kind of unlawful behaviour by a civil servant working at the behest of the party in power not only breaks the moral of every proud Indian but also breaks the law under section 166, 166A, 334, 354, 336, 339, 349, 350, 351, 354 (A) (B), 355 of IPC.”
The BJP, in the representation to the EC, alleged that the police officer “molested and inappropriately manhandled Priyanka Tibrewal”.
However, Magharia denied the allegation of assault on Tibrewal, who is pitted against Banerjee, the TMC candidate in the Bhabanipur by-election.
“It is in the public domain. This is a baseless allegation. You can see the video footage. I have not even touched her. I was standing quite at a distance,” the police officer told PTI.
During the funeral procession of BJP”s Magrahat Paschim candidate Manas Saha, the party leaders stopped on Kalighat bridge, a few hundred metres from Banerjee”s residence, and Majumdar and Mahato sat on the road in front of the hearse.
The BJP alleged that Saha had succumbed to injuries sustained in “post-poll atrocity committed by TMC”. The representation, signed by Purulia MP Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato, Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh and party leader Shishir Bajoria, claimed that the police action was unprovoked.
They alleged that the police action on the funeral procession was led by Magharia “at the behest of the party in power”.
Mamata Banerjee was defeated by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari in the Nandigram Assembly constituency in the Assembly elections held earlier this year. Following this, the Bhabanipur Assembly seat was vacated by the West Bengal Agriculture Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay in May, making way for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to contest from Bhabanipur seat.
On September 10, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule of by-polls to be held in the state. According to the schedule, the by-election in Bhabanipur Assembly Constituency in West Bengal will be held on September 30.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Priyanka Tibrewal in Bhabanipur against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the upcoming by-poll. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 3.