18 year old Dalit supporter of BJP found hanging from tree

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An 18 year old Dalit boy was found hanging from a tree, nearly 200 meters away from his house in West Bengal’s tribal dominated Purulia district, a part of Junglemahal. The boy, a second year student of Balarampur College in Purulia has been identified as Trilochan Mahato, an active BJP worker and son of BJP’s Dalit leader Pano Mahato of Balarampur block.

The white T-shirt, that he was wearing bears a scribble—“You deserve to die for doing politics and working for BJP at this young age”. The incident, that puts an ugly face of political violence in Bengal, clearly bears signs of BJP’s inroads to the region. In the recent three-tier Panchayat election, BJP won in all seven Panchayats in Balarampur block, stronghold of Trinamool Congress.

A poster, found near the victim’s body reads similar lines—“You have been working for BJP at this age. We have been trying to kill you since elections (Panchayat) and today we killed you.” According to Pano Mahato, mother of the victim, Trilochan left home at the afternoon onTuesday for the weekly village market. At around 8 pm, his mother got a call from his number and heard her son shouting .

He said that he had been abducted by a group of men, said Pano. The call got disconnected immediately. His parents informed the villagers and a search operation was launched in the forested village, however, he could not be traced. Early in the morning, his body was spotted hanging from a tree by a group of farmers who were going to their fields.

Joy Biswas, SP of Purulia said that a murder case has been started. Significantly, the state minister for western region development, Santiram Mahato is the MLA of Balarampur constituency. Mahato called the incident a result of BJP’s infighting.

Joy Biswas, SP of Purulia said that a murder case has been started. Significantly, the state minister for western region development, Santiram Mahato is the MLA of Balarampur constituency. Mahato called the incident a result of BJP’s infighting.

Significantly, Bengal has traditionally remained a politically charged state where political clashes and consequent violence are seen as routine. But, demonstration of violence by hanging a person appears to be a new phenomenon here.

Balarampur has been a hot bed of Maoists during the Lalgarh movement in Bengal, though it was traditionally a Left dominated area. Left Front had enjoyed unflinching support of tribal communities for almost three decade before the Maoists took control .

After the death of Maoist leader Kishenji, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress won over the tribal people and captured all Panchayats and also the assembly constituencies there. In last one year, the area has witnessed a steady shift of tribal and Dalits towards Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and its affiliates including Bajrang Dal.

For the first time, Purulia witnessed Ramnavami rallies and a communal clash resulting in a casualty a month back. Leaders of Bajrang dal were arrested after the incident.

The RSS has woven an intricate network through its numerous affiliates to reach out to the tribal villages in Purulia. The saffron brigade has revived its old organisations, which were started by Swami Aseemananda, accused of Samjhauta express blast. The RSS first set up Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams and then the VHP’s Ekal Vidyalayas are catching up fast.

There was a resentment brewing among tribal villagers against the ruling Trinamool Congress as they were ‘disrespecting’ the tribal rituals of religious practices, said a local RSS leader who does not want to be named.

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