Dispute over sand mining or local area control? No one seems sure yet but what is clear is that the violence in Rampurhat in West Bengal this week has nothing to do with the larger political clash between the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. In fact, the source says, it is probably a case of conflict between two people belonging to the same group which has escalated with catastrophic consequences.
The two main characters of the plot are Vadu Sheikh and Sona Sheikh of Bagatui village. Their rivalry flared up for several years.
Vadu Sheikh, the village deputy panchayat chief, was a local boy who started his career driving a police car. Sona Sheikh, her neighbors and rivals were doing the same thing at about the same time.
Driving a police car helped Vadhu reach out to influential people. Villagers say he began collecting money from a sand lorry, calling it a “local welfare tax.”
Vadhu’s fortunes changed. But then about a year ago his elder brother Babar Sheikh was killed. The names of some of his relatives including Sona came up.
The enmity between Vadhu and Sonar increased.
Vadu was then killed on Monday. After that, a mob allegedly set fire to several houses in the vicinity. Seven burnt bodies have been recovered from Sona Sheikh’s house.
Police are now investigating who killed Vadu Sheikh, as well as the arsonists.
Locals say Vaduti has progressed with the blessings of Birbhum TMC president Anubrat Mandal.
As Vadu’s political influence grew, so did his wealth.
He got a four-story house and installed CCTV cameras everywhere.
Vadu Sheikh has got a four-storey house in Bagatui village of Rampurhat in West Bengal and has installed CCTV cameras everywhere. Photo / News18
Vadu became a panchayat member in 2013 and became sub-village head two years later.
Observers say the TMC High Command has repeatedly asked members not to engage in any local criminal activity, but the Vadhu and Sonar cases show that this has not always been heeded.
Locals now have more questions than answers.
Only a few houses have been set on fire; How were they chosen?
Did anyone want to finish Vadhu Sheikh as well as his rivals?
Was Vadu becoming stronger than some big leaders?
The role of the police has also been questioned as the house of the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) is about five minutes away from the scene of the violence. The main Rampurhat police station is within two to three kilometers.
Then why the police could not reach the hour?
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has launched an investigation. Politicians and journalists are coming even after many locals have fled. The smoke from Bagatui village has not yet cleared; Perhaps the answers will be more forthcoming after this.
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