A day after two BJP leaders were gunned down in Gujarat’s Bharuch city, a massive manhunt has been launched to nab the assailants, police said on Tuesday.
The police were trying to ascertain the identities of the shooters who gunned down from close quarters BJP’s former Bharuch district president Shirish Bengali and the party’s youth wing district general secretary Pragnesh Mistry in Bharuch late on Monday evening.
Bengali was shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants, soon after he had returned after a party meeting in the city to discuss the upcoming local body elections.
He was in his office, from where he runs a local Gujarati daily, when the attackers barged in and shot him in the head, leaving him dead on the spot.
Mistry, who was with Bengali in his office, was also shot at. Mistry was rushed to a hospital in a critical state and was pronounced dead on reaching there.
Police sources said the motive for the murders was yet not clear — given that Bengali and Mistry were neither politically active these days nor did they hold any post that mattered.
Bengali was a senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Bharuch district and had later been moved to serve the BJP as the district general secretary earlier. He has also held the post of director with the State-owned fertilizer major, Gujarat Narmada Fertilizers Corporation (GNFC).
This is not the first time Bengali had been attacked, though it has been more than two decades when an attempt was made on his life in the 1980s reportedly over a personal matter.
Pragnesh Mistry, besides being the Bharuch BJP youth wing general secretary, was a senate member of Veer Narmad South Gujarat University in south Gujarat.
“Though Shirish bhai is a respected old-timer and has played a key role in establishing the RSS and the BJP in the district, a political motive to kill him at this stage does not sound logical since he and Mistry are not much active and have never courted any controversy,” a Bharuch district party leader claimed, pleading anonymity, since “this is only guesswork”.