What We Know So Far About The Gruesome Murder Of A Family In West Bengal’s Murshidabad

What We Know So Far About The Gruesome Murder Of A Family In West Bengal’s MurshidabadThe Pal family was found murdered most gruesomely in their home in Murshidabad.
Snapshot
  • While it is true that a lot of BJP and RSS workers have been murdered in West Bengal, it is too early to say that the brutal murder of the family in Murshidabad had any political angle to it.

The gruesome murder of a school teacher on Tuesday morning at Jiagung in Bengal’s Murshidabad has triggered angry reactions from many, including the state’s Governor Jagdeep Dhankar.

However, there is no evidence yet to suggest that the horrific murder of the school teacher Bondhu Prakash Pal (35), his pregnant wife, Beauty Mondal Pal (32) and their eight-year-old son, Angan, has anything to do with his recent association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The murders, which left the nation shocked because of their ghastly nature, fuelled allegations by many that the school teacher and his family were murdered because of his links with the RSS.

Many assumed that it was yet another in the long list of political murders that have left Bengal bloodied and bruised since the late 1960s. Expectedly, this assumption triggered outrage on social media.

But preliminary evidence and investigations seem to suggest that all those who are alleging a political angle to the murders may be wrong.

Tanmay Sarkar, Additional Superintendent of Police of Lalbagh subdivision, said that it was premature to comment on the motive. “We have inspected the scene of the crime and it appears that the perpetrators of the crime were known to the victim as there was little or no resistance,” Sarkar said.

Murshidabad police chief, Mukesh Kumar, told media persons that the family of the victim said he had no political affiliations.

Local RSS members also conceded that Bondhu Prakash Pal was not an RSS worker and had no formal ties with the organisation. His only link with the RSS was that he had started attending the monthly ‘milan’ (get-together) programme of the RSS in recent times.

The police are working on three primary leads.

One is a letter written by Beauty (wife of Bondhu Prakash) hinting at their deteriorating marital relationship. Neighbours of the slain family, however, said that they had never heard any loud arguments or quarrels between the couple and the family seemed to be a happy one. But the letter written by Beauty to a relative hinted that she was not happy in the marriage.

The second angle being probed by the police is a possible family dispute over the inheritance of property between Bondhu Prakash and his cousins. Bondhu Prakash grew up in his maternal uncle’s place, where his mother still lives.

His uncle’s sons were reportedly contesting their father’s decision to bequeath a part of their ancestral property to Bondhu Prakash. The cousins have been telling their father that Bondhu Prakash, being a school teacher, was well-settled in life and did not need any share of their property.

Another angle that has emerged is that of an unpaid loan. Bondhu Prakash had loaned an amount of Rs 6 lakh to a friend, but the latter had ‘disappeared’ and was incommunicado over the past one and half months.

Bondhu Prakash had been quite agitated over this for the past few weeks and had been planning to lodge a complaint with the police. His wife Beauty had also been exerting pressure on him to recover the money from his friend and this had led to some minor discord recently between the couple. Beauty had mentioned this in a letter to a friend.

However, the police are quite baffled by the brutality of the murders.

“The murders were brutal and the nature of fatal injuries inflicted on the victims indicate that the perpetrator(s) were very vengeful and acted out of deep anger and hatred. But nothing in the life of the family can be said to have triggered such barbaric vengeance,” said a senior police officer.

He pointed out that had the motive been political, only Bondhu Prakash would have been targeted. And there are many more in Jiagunj, including full-time RSS workers, whose links with the RSS are much stronger.

“So killing this school teacher, and his entire family, in such a brutal manner just for political reasons does not make any sense,” said the police officer.

Bondhu Prakash and his family had shifted to Jiagunj in 2017. His sister Bandhu Priya told reporters that he (Bondhu Prakash) had cut off all links with the family and the siblings rarely interacted with each other.

Priya and her husband Manoj Pal said that Bondhu Prakash was not associated with any political party or organisation and was apolitical by nature. “He was a quiet, friendly and very sober person,” she said. Priya added that she knew about the friend of her brother who had vanished after taking a loan of Rs 6 lakh from him.

Condemnations

Governor Dhankar issued a statement condemning the murders and terming them “dastardly and barbaric”. Dhankar’s sharp statement that “the murders are reflective of intolerance and of the worrisome law and order situation (in Bengal)” evoked an equally sharp reaction from Trinamool general secretary, Partha Chatterjee, who accused the Governor of selective outrage.

RSS leader Jishnu Basu said, “Bengal is passing through the worst law and order situation. Bandhu was an RSS worker. We want a high-level investigation.”

But he told reporters after the visit of an RSS fact-finding team to Jiagung that there appeared to be “no political motive” to the murders.

National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, hitting out at the state administration for “failing” to prevent such incidents.

Latest Political Killings

The foul murders of the family at Jiagunj may not have been due to political reasons, but it remains a fact that Bengal has been witness to a string of murders of mainly BJP and RSS workers and sympathisers ever since the Trinamool came to power in 2011.

A 38-year-old BJP worker was shot at by Trinamool workers at Baruipur in South 24 Parganas on Thursday (10 October) for chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’. On 8 October, 35-year-old Raju Kurmi, a BJP supporter, was shot dead at Kanchrapara in North 24 Parganas district.

At least 95 people have been killed in political violence in Bengal this year. An overwhelming majority of the victims are BJP and RSS workers and supporters. At least 200 have been injured in political violence over the last nine months from January to September.

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