Tension gripped Labhpur area in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Saturday as a mob smashed local TMC lawmaker Manirul Islam's vehicle and chased him, forcing him to take refuge in the local police station, police said. The incident comes days after the daughter of BJP leader Suprabhat Batyabyal was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint in the district. The girl's mother lodged a complaint at Labhpur police station after the alleged kidnapping on Thursday.
Protesting against the incident and demanding immediate rescue of the girl, an angry mob resorted to vandalism in and around the area as she remained untraceable. At around 3 pm, the mob gheraoed Islam's vehicle at Indus village and pelted stones at it.
The MLA was rushed to safety by his security guards, the police said. "When he reached the Labhpur police station, there too a mob started pelting stones," a police officer said.
Police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the mob, he added. Later, Islam visited the girl's house and spoke to her family.
"I talked to the family members and assured that police are trying to find their daughter. We have already told police to act fast," he told PTI. Meanwhile, protesters continued to block the Suri-Katwa road for the third day on Saturday.
BJP supporters demonstrated in front of the police station. Additional force has been deployed in the area, the police said. One suspect was detained on Friday for questioning in connection with the alleged kidnapping, superintendent of police, Birbhum, Shyam Singh, said.
Police haven't found any political motive behind the incident so far, he said. Batyabyal, who switched to the BJP from the TMC around five months ago, was not at home when the miscreants broke into his house in Labhpur and kidnapped his 22-year-old daughter.
Before joining the TMC, Batyabal was a district committee member of the CPI(M). "Five miscreants barged into the house around 8 pm on Thursday night on finding out that Suprabhat was not home," the BJP leader's brother, Sujit Batyabyal, had said on Friday.
"First, they confined us in a room and locked it from outside. Then they dragged my niece out at gunpoint and forced her into a car, which was parked near our home, and drove off," he said. The BJP's district leadership alleged that the miscreants were TMC-backed goons.
The TMC has been threatening Suprabhat since he joined our party, a BJP leader said. "The police was informed immediately but they did nothing effective," he alleged.