Kolkata: At round 8.30 pm October 4, shortly after a Trinamool Congress protest rally over the alleged gang rape and homicide in Hathras had handed Titagarh Bazaar space in Barrackpore, North 24 Parganas, two bikes carrying 4 helmet-covered males made a short cease subsequent to a makeshift joint alongside the BT Road. What adopted was mayhem.
Manish Shukla, an advocate and native BJP chief, was chatting up along with his followers after having ordered tea from an area roadside stall. A BJP social gathering workplace and an under-construction Durga Puja pandal subsequent to the joint saved the place crowded regardless of the Pandemic scare.
Shukla had solely simply returned from a celebration programme in Howrah, a day by day routine for the social gathering now in poll-bound Bengal. An in depth aide of native strongman and BJP’s Barrackpore MP, Arjun Singh, Shukla accompanied Singh within the programme earlier than parting methods at Titagarh.
The unidentified gunmen sprayed Shukla with bullets, concentrating on his head and torso, at very shut vary. Before anybody might react, the assailants had escaped leaving Shukla in a pool of blood. He was declared useless on arrival at a non-public hospital on EM Bypass in Kolkata shortly after.
The Titagarh Police Station stood on the opposite aspect of the street at a stone’s throw distance from the scene of crime. Shukla’s armed non-public safety was conspicuously absent when the assault was orchestrated.
The incident, and the very brazenness of it, despatched shockwaves throughout political fraternities of the state and the plenty alike, with the Mamata Banerjee authorities shortly ordering a CID probe, a lot to the chagrin of the BJP which demanded a CBI inquiry proper from the beginning.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was fast to throw his hat into the ring and summoned state house secretary and the DGP to Raj Bhavan very first thing on Monday for a report. His considerations have been addressed by newly appointed chief secretary of Bengal, Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who, armed with a report from the Barrackpore Police Commissioner, met him for over two hours.
BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvarghiya, Mukul Roy, Arjun Singh, Locket Chatterjee and Arvind Menon took to the streets, visited the sufferer’s household and stayed with them until the physique was cremated late night. The relaxation of the social gathering’s central management took to social media in full throttle and even held press conferences in Delhi to sentence the crime and breathe hearth on the Mamata Banerjee administration.
Monday’s daylong drama spanned from violence in Titagarh by bandh sponsoring BJP supporters to entry scuffle at NRS Hospital the place Shukla’s physique was moved for post-mortem and eventually to SN Banerjee Road in central Kolkata the place a marching BJP convoy with Shukla’s hearse was stopped from reaching Raj Bhavan by town police.
Governor Dhankhar additionally acquired a delegation within the night from the sufferer’s father Chandramani Shukla and BJP leaders for a prayer for a CBI probe.
Shukla’s Political Journey a Factor?
It appears prudent at this stage to try Shukla’s political background and why his horrible destiny evoked reactions of such mammoth proportion.
Shukla first hogged political highlight in the course of the 2009 common elections as a CPI-M activist when he labored as an election agent for Barrackpore MP Tarit Baran Topdar. Topdar misplaced, and Shukla quickly discovered a father-figure in Arjun Singh who had then moved to the Trinamool. Ten years later, in 2019, Shukla switched camps once more, alongside along with his mentor Singh, to the BJP.
Police affirm that in the course of the above-mentioned interval there have been at the very least 16 pending instances towards him together with homicide, try and homicide and possession of unlawful arms at varied police stations in and round Barrackpore.
Yet, none of that stopped Shukla from profitable the Titagarh civic physique polls in 2015 as an impartial candidate.
Political observers say that Shukla’s proximity to Singh made him the entrance runner for a BJP ticket for the Khardah seat in 2021 state polls.
That X issue is getting used each by the BJP and the TMC to level fingers at one another and commerce expenses for the ugly homicide. While the BJP alleges Shukla was all the time a goal for the Trinamool since eliminating him would weaken Arjun Singh’s domination within the space, the latter has questioned whether or not Shukla’s rise within the social gathering might have brought on heartburns inside a piece of native BJP leaders who discovered him a risk to their political ambitions.
Trinamool minister Firhad Hakim even caught his neck out and claimed that Shukla was “forced to join BJP at gunpoint by Arjun Singh and was sending fillers to return to the TMC on account of his disillusionment with the BJP.”
What Lies Beneath
Bengal is on the threshold of its massive push for the all-important state elections subsequent 12 months. Post pujas, political environment within the state is prone to flip sharply unstable and all stakeholders, from the ruling TMC to its challenger the BJP to the darkish horse Left-Congress alliance, are prone to hit the open with all political ammos of their respective arsenals. But there may be additionally a preface to that starting.
Both the TMC in addition to Left-Congress have come out strongly towards the Farm Bills and the alleged rape incidents of UP. The BJP was holding on to its Save Democracy marketing campaign and the social gathering plans to march to the state secretariat Nabanna on October Eight in its largest present of energy. Shukla’s homicide could properly have led to the BJP staff feeling the anger social gathering leaders have been so desperately hoping for forward of that march.
As for who killed Manish Shukla, the probe is on.