One of the BJP’s popular Lok Sabha election campaign mascots in West Bengal, Nibash Sarkar, whose images as dressed up as Lord Hanuman became viral across various social media platforms in the run-up to the 2019 polls, committed suicide in his village of Hanskhali on Friday, October 4, allegedly out of fear of being excluded in the NRC process. BJP national president Amit Shah, during a recent visit to Kolkata, had reiterated that NRC will be extended to the entire country and all illegal immigrants will be thrown out.
Sarkar had actively campaigned for BJP’s Ranaghat Lok Sabha seat candidate Jagannath Sarkar in the 2019 election. After the preliminary investigation, the police said he consumed some kind of a pesticide. The police added that he was rushed to the Shaktinagar District Hospital and he died on his way there.
Though Nibash Sarkar’s own family members said NRC fear was not responsible for his death, National Herald spoke to Dipak Roy, a neighbour. “You see a lot of these people are actually migrants from Bangladesh. And they are panicking at the word of NRC as it has left as many as 12 lakh Hindus out of the list in Assam. They are panicking but what can they do? They simply do not have the papers. So did not Nibash. I am born here. I grew up here. I know everyone here. Even BJP’s candidate Jagannath Sarkar is a migrant.”
CPI(M) Politburo member and former MP Mohd Salim also claimed that Nibash Sarkar killed himself in panic after Shah’s statements on NRC. The party's district secretary, Sumit De said, "Our sources tell us that he was spooked by the NRC spectre. We demand a probe to find the real cause."
Another neighbour of Nibash Sarkar, who requested anonymity, said, “Nibash’s elder brother may be claiming that he had an addiction problem but no such thing was visible. They were well-off, had put the house here on rent while the victim worked in Udaipur, Rajasthan. There is panic here amongst the migrants ever since news about Assam NRC spread.”