Update: A week after Geeta and Raju Mahali hosted lunch for BJP chief Amit Shah at their hut on Wednesday they have joined Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party on Wednesday.
They were welcomed as the members of the Trinamool Congress by the state’s Tourism Minister, Gautam Deb.
Siliguri: The highlight of BJP President Amit Shah’s recent visit to West Bengal was his lunch at a Mahali, the tribe which speaks Mahali language, house in Naxalbari.
The images of Shah sitting on the floor of Raju Mahali’s house at South Katiajote village and having rice, dal, ‘potol bhaja’ (fried gourd dish), squash curry, salad and papad served on a banana leaf went viral.
Less than a week after Shah’s visit, members of Mahalis family, who greeted Shah with lunch, went missing on Tuesday night.
BJP leader Dilip Barui said, “On Tuesday night we got information that Raju, a painter, and his wife Geeta, farm labour, and others went missing from their house. We immediately rushed to the Naxalbari police station and alerted the officer.”
Barui said Mahalis were under pressure from the local Trinamool Congress unit ever since Amit Shah and state BJP President Dilip Ghosh had lunch at their house on April 25.
When asked, Tapan Pal, officer in-Charge of Naxalbari Police station confirming the incident. “Last night BJP workers led by Dilip Barui came to us and complained that Mahalis are missing from their house in South Katiajote village. We are looking in to the matter.”
He said, “We have alerted the nearby police stations and are looking for the family members.”
Meanwhile, there are allegation that Mahalis are under pressure to join TMC. Trinamool leaders, however, have denied such charges. “The allegation against us is false. No one is threatening Mahalis,” a TMC leader said.
In yet another twist to the incident, some local BJP leaders said Mahalis were planning to join TMC.
Speaking to News18, BJP’s Siliguri district president Praveen Agarwal blamed TMC leader Gautam Deb amd said, “Mahalis were kidnapped by Gauratm Deb’s men. Mahalis are under pressure to join TMC. BJP workers are there in Naxalbari police station and we are demanding immediate action against those who are involved in the incident.”