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Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation has named 21 people as accused in the Birbhum massacre, in which eight people were beaten and burnt alive earlier this week, triggering political furore. The list of accused is the same as that of the state police, sources said.Around 20 people have been arrested after six women and two children — mostly of members of a single family — were locked in their homes and burnt alive by a mob at the Bogtui village near Birbhum’s Rampurhat town earlier this week. The attack was allegedly retaliation to the murder of a local Trinamool Congress leader, Bhadu Sheikh, who died in a bomb attack.Mamata Banerjee, during her visit to Bogtui, had said that no one would be spared. She had also promised that her party’s block president Anarul Hossain will be arrested for not informing the police and helping them in preventing the crime.Speaking to reporters while being taken away for questioning by the CBI, Anarul Hossain said, “It is a conspiracy by my opponents.”The CBI team has set up a temporary camp at a government guest house in Rampurhat. Led by senior officer Akhilesh Singh, the team has now split up and started work by visiting the home of Sona Sheikh, whose house was set ablaze.Most of the bodies were recovered from this home in Bogtui village including that of the newly married couple, Lily Khatun and her husband.The CBI has to file a status report on its investigation by April 7 in the Calcutta High Court, which ordered a probe by the Central agency on Friday. The court — which took up the case suo motu — had denied the Mamata Banerjee government’s request not to hand over the investigation to the CBI.Battling a furious political backlash over the killings, the Chief Minister had alleged that “something big” was behind the incident.”I never believed something so barbaric can happen in modern Bengal. Mothers and children were killed. Your family members died but it is my heart that was crushed,” Mamata Banerjee said, surrounded by the family members and relatives of those killed, besides villagers. Alleging a bigger conspiracy, she called for “stringent action” and said the police would investigate all angles.At least 20 people have been arrested by the local police in connection with the incident. Two officers of the local police have been removed on grounds of negligence.Alleging that the Trinamool Congress’s local leaders were involved in the murders, the state’s opposition BJP had demanded a central investigation. The party also called for President’s Rule in the state.

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