Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay
The day after a delegation from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met President Ramnath Kovind seeking dismissal of the Mamata Banerjee government over the alleged murder of BJP MLA Debendra Nath Roy of Uttar Dinajpur, the Chief Minister wrote to the President saying that Roy’s death was a case of suicide. Refuting the allegations made by the BJP that it was a political killing, she wrote: “This is in the context of your meeting with a delegation of BJP who might have apprised you with some distorted fact.”
Expressing sadness at Roy’s death, Mamata wrote in her letter: “On receipt of post mortem report and on primary investigation, West Bengal Police has reported that it is a case of suspected suicide and could be related to some local money transfer activities. The note found in a pocket of the deceased also names two persons who are allegedly found to be related to such money transfer activities in the locality. Therefore I am sorry to say that it does not appear to be a political case as being projected by BJP.”
On the morning of July 13, the body of Debendra Nath Roy, the BJP legislator from Hemtabad in Uttar Dinajpur district in north Bengal, was found hanging from a ceiling outside a shuttered shop in a local market. One of his hands was tied up. While the BJP alleged that this was a political murder and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) inquiry, the Trinamool government reportedly rejected the demand, maintaining that the police and the CID were competent to handle the case. Interestingly, members of the local BJP insist that no suicide note was found inside Roy’s pocket when the body was taken down from the ceiling. “We were all present when the police brought down the body, and at that time no suicide note was found on his person. This is a new twist they are trying to give,” Biswajit Lahiri, BJP district president of Uttar Dinajpur, told Frontline .
On July 14, a five-member BJP delegation, led by national general secretary of the party Kailash Vijayvargiya, met the President and asked for a CBI inquiry into Roy’s death and demanded the government's dismissal. “The law and order in West Bengal has collapsed…. The police itself are siding with the criminals and allowing the killings to take place. Such a government does not deserve to continue. This is what we told the President. We have met the Home Minister and asked for a CBI inquiry into the death,” said Vijayvargiya. The same day, the West Bengal unit of the BJP called for a 12-hour bandh in several districts of north Bengal.
The following day, a delegation from the Trinamool Congress led by Derek O Brien, its chief national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member, met the President and handed over to him the letter from the party supremo Mamata Banerjee. “Our government has taken all necessary actions immediately for comprehensive investigation…. I would like to assure that West Bengal is a State where we always respect all political parties, their leaders and workers,” her letter stated.