The police in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district have arrested a young man in Radhamadhabtala village, known locally as a Bharatiya Janata Party worker, and five of his associates for wearing skullcaps and throwing stones at a Sealdah-bound trial engine travelling on the Sealdah-Lalgola line, The Telegraph reported on Friday.
At a rally in Kolkata on Thursday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had accused the saffron party of buying its workers skullcaps and instructing them to go on a rampage to malign Muslims.
Banerjee reiterated the allegation on Friday too, referring to social media videos of men in skullcaps pelting stones at trains, Hindustan Times reported. “When I saw the video I asked the authorities to check,” she said. “We found that some Bharatiya Janata Party workers belonging to a different religion were made to dress like that and the video was shot for circulation. Police have arrested them. Such tactics are being resorted by people in some areas to spread unrest. We should not fall into such traps.”
The suspected BJP worker was identified as 21-year-old Abhishek Sarkar, who is reportedly a regular at local BJP rallies. “We became suspicious when we saw the youths change their clothes near the railway line,” an unidentified villager told The Telegraph. “We knew Abhishek as he is very vocal about his views. So we decided to confront them.” The villagers accosted the youth and handed them over to the police. One member of the group managed to escape.
“The youths claimed they had worn lungis and skullcaps for the sake of a video they were shooting for their YouTube channel,” said district police chief Mukesh. “But they could not prove the existence of any such channel.”
While local BJP officials confirmed to The Telegraph that Sarkar was a party worker, the saffron party’s District President Gouri Sankar Ghosh denied it. “He is not a member of our party,” he said. “We don’t know anything about the incident in Radhamadhabtala.”