60-year-old HK Maheswari was beaten up by agitated factory workers when he rejected their demand for increase in weekly working hours so that they are paid more, Hooghly SP Sunil Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury said the workers met Maheswari at 11 AM and demanded that the weekly working hours be increased to 40 from the present 25 and also submitted a list of other demands.

The refusal of the CEO to meet the workers' demands led to an altercation and the workers assaulted Maheswari. The CEO, who suffered serious injuries, died while being taken to the hospital.

The incident has triggered a political blame game within the state with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blaming the BJP and CPI(M) for it.

"It was CPI(M) and BJP's men who had gathered there," she claimed.

Both BJP and CPI(M), however, denied their involvement and claimed that the incident exposed the law and order situation in West Bengal.

"There was a meeting scheduled there over some issues with the workers at 5.00 PM. But some CITU and BMS union members gathered within the mill premises in the morning itself and Maheswari came out of office to talk to them," Banerjee said.

"According to information that I have got, BMS and CITU members brutally beat up Maheswari. I have talked to the local police about it," she said.

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is affiliated to RSS, while Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) is the trade union wing of CPI(M).

Banerjee said she had asked the police to take strong action against the culprits.

Asserting that her party's trade union body was not involved in the incident, Banerjee said, "We have no direct Trinamool Congress trade union there. Sobhandeb has a small unit there."

TMC MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay is a former president of the party's trade union wing INTTUC. He was replaced by Dola Sen, who lost the recent Lok Sabha elections to BJP's Babul Supriyo in Asansol.

"It is very unfortunate that he was brutally beaten and died while being taken to hospital. I just want to know why is this violence to win elections? Just a month back Lok Sabha elections were held. They have got the people's verdict," the Chief Minister said.

"They should try to garner support democratically. Why has Delhi suddenly started the game of taking over Bengal? It is not possible to win Bengal by violence and arson and murder. Bengal's soil is that of integration and brotherhood," Banerjee added.

The Chief Minister further said that the BJP and CPI(M) are giving political colour to such incidents and the state government will not tolerate this.

"We have tolerated enough. It is the duty of the government to douse any fire that has been ignited. BJP and CPI(M) goons who are indulging in violence after taking shelter under the BJP umbrella must not forget that they will not escape the law. BJP is indulging in dirty politics by joining hands with CPI(M)," Banerjee said.

"CPI(M) goons who engineered incidents like those in Nandigram, Choto Angaria, Netai, are thinking that BJP will save them. But they should understand that BJP has got nothing in Bengal," she added.

BJP hits back at Mamata

Rubbishing Banerjee's allegation that the BJP was involved in the CEO's killing, the party accused the state government of failing to maintain the law and order.

"Mamata Banerjee should stop making such statements. Otherwise people henceforth won't take her comments seriously. It is really hilarious to hear such allegations from the Chief Minister," West Bengal BJP general secretary Shamik Bhattacharya said.


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