The BJP called for a 12-hour bandh in districts of north Bengal on Friday to protest against the "atrocities on the tribal community" in the backdrop of a girl's death at Kaliaganj in Uttar Dinajpur district last week.
The call for shutdown from 6 am drew a sharp retort from the ruling Trinamul Congress, which accused the saffron camp of trying to "disturb the peaceful atmosphere of West Bengal".
"The TMC has unleashed a reign of terror in several areas of north Bengal. We have decided to call for a 12-hour bandh tomorrow to protest against the atrocities on the tribal community in north Bengal districts by the state administration and the ruling party. Such atrocities are unprecedented. The shutdown will be from 6 am to 6 pm. The people will protest against the misrule of the Trinamool Congress," BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said.
Movement of students, health and emergency services will be kept out of the ambit of the shutdown, he said.
The north Bengal region comprises Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda.
Notably, the BJP had made deep inroads in the region in the 2019 Lok Sabha and the 2021 assembly polls.
The Trinamool Congress termed the BJP's shutdown call as an "attempt to politicise and communalise" the 17-year-old girl's death at Kaliaganj ahead of the panchayat polls.
"The police have restored peace in Kaliaganj. But the BJP is desperate to politicise and communalise the issue ahead of the panchayat polls. The people of the state would defeat such attempts to disturb peace in the area. The BJP is trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of West Bengal," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
The death of the teenage girl in Uttar Dinajpur district has kept the state's political cauldron on the boil for the last week.
Violating prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC, miscreants set fire to Kaliaganj Police Station on Tuesday to protest against the death of the girl whose body was found in a canal here last week.
Agitators claimed that the girl had been raped and murdered.
BJP leaders had also demanded swift action against those involved in the alleged rape and murder of the girl.
However, the preliminary post-mortem examination report indicated that she had not been raped, police said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday alleged that outsiders were brought to the state to carry out attacks on the police station and private property at Kaliaganj.
Altogether 11 people have been detained for their alleged involvement in violence at Kaliaganj over the death of the girl, the police said.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.