New Delhi: A 10-year-old boy was allegedly thrashed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker for not chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on Monday afternoon in West Bengal’s Nadia district, the Telegraph reported.
According to the report, the incident took place when Mahadev Sharma, who studies in class IV, was passing by the tea stall owned by the party activist Mahadeb Pramanik at Phulia in Nadia. Pramanik is the husband of Mithu Pramanik, the local chief of the BJP’s women’s wing.
The boy was admitted to the Ranaghat Subdivisional Hospital with multiple injuries to his face, head and back, and had been advised a CT scan, the report added. “The boy is in trauma, but is medically stable,” a physician told the newspaper.
Following the incident, local residents beat up Pramanik, and some protesters also raised a blockade on NH12 demanding his arrest.
After the police began a probe, assuring protesters that Pramanik would be arrested, the blockade was lifted. However, the report citing sources said that Pramanik had fled. Also, a formal complaint against the accused was not lodged till evening.
The police told the daily that the boy’s father Shyamchand Sharma, who is a carpenter, is a known Trinamool Congress supporter.
“The boy was passing by Pramanik’s tea stall. He was singled out because of his father’s leanings. This was evident because Pramanik summoned him and began verbally abusing the boy’s father over his Trinamool leanings,” a witness told the newspaper. The witness further told the Telegraph that Pramanik seemed particularly irked by the child’s father’s recent “proactive involvement” during polls on April 17.
The witness further said that Pramanik started threatening the boy and wanted him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, which the boy refused.
Pramanik then allegedly beat Sharma until a few villagers rushed in to help.
“He (Pramanik) insisted I chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and was abusing my father. When I refused, he started to beat and slap me, and then kick me. Luckily, some locals rushed in to help,” Sharma told the newspaper from hospital bed.
While acknowledging the attack, Mahila Morcha leader Mithu Pramanik, wife of the accused, blamed the boy for alleged “provocation”.
“It is true that my husband asked the boy to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. But he said it jovially as he often does with many because the boy is known to him…. In fact, some customers who were present at the shop also retorted in jest that the boy should ask my husband to chant ‘Jai Bangla’. But the boy picked up a stone and threw it the shop, breaking glass containers. This made my husband lose his cool and he slapped him for the damages,” she told the daily. “It is unfortunate that Trinamool is using the incident to malign us.”
Peter Mukherjee, a local Trinamool youth wing leader, told the Telegraph: “Some villagers rescued the boy in a semi-conscious state and informed me. I immediately rushed to the spot and took him to the hospital. The incident proved yet again how cruel the BJP can be. It is unimaginable that he did not spare even a child who lost his mother.”
“On the day of the election, BJP workers had been trying to influence voters, which I protested against. So, it appears they took revenge by attacking my son,” Shyamchand Sharma, the boy’s father, said.
“A police team has also visited the home of the accused. We are trying to find out what exactly happened,” a police official told the daily.