The Bhartiya Janata Party’s Nabanno Chalo protest march against the ruling TMC-regime of West Bengal was met with stiff opposition by the administration, as the police took to using brute force against protestors who were determined nevertheless to carry on with their protest, which was conducted in order to agitate against the spate of political killings of BJP workers in the Mamata Banerjee-ruled state. Interestingly, the state secretariat was shut for two days by the Bengal administration, citing ‘sanitation’ purposes, but what many believe to be a fear of the saffron party workers gheraoing Nabanno.
Parts of Howrah and Kolkata resembled a war-zone as BJP workers remained committed to the cause of making the TMC-regime shake in its boots for what they call political killings of saffron party workers. As Police and the protestors locked horns, respect for democratic ethos and maintenance of human rights became alien concepts, which were rather unceremoniously tossed into the trash can. As the police resorted to brutal lathi-charge upon the protesting crowds, people irrespective of age and gender were made to face the brunt of an establishment jittery at the prospect of losing its dearly-held power to the BJP next year.
Videos which have been doing the rounds of social media show the police lathi-charging people rather brutally, in flagrant disobedience of laid precedents and guidelines, which mandate that such action (lathi blows) should be aimed at soft portions of the body and contact with the head or collarbone should be avoided as far as practicable. The assault of a Sikh security officer who was on duty with a firearm by the West Bengal police has also outraged many, as the man’s turban can be seen falling off due to the police’s disproportionately harsh handling of the man. Even as the man tried to tie his kes, the lathi blows by the police continued to be showered upon him.
Police resorting to a lathicharge on BJP leaders and workers who were advancing towards state secretariat – Nabanna. pic.twitter.com/WfUmz1fUYT
— Pooja Mehta (@pooja_news) October 8, 2020
कांग्रेस के बड़े नेताओं के साथ धक्का-मुक्की हुई तो पूरे देश की मीडिया और अख़बारों में सुर्ख़ियाँ बनीं. बंगाल में पुलिस ने जो किया, वो किसी को ख़राब नहीं लग रहा? pic.twitter.com/CnW94w7Ivm
— रोहित सरदाना (@sardanarohit) October 9, 2020
In complete contestation to the sanctity of human rights, it has also been alleged that the water cannon charge by the police on BJP workers was in fact laced with chemicals, due to which many protestors suffered a bout of ill-health and vomiting. The protestors and BJP have alleged that the water was coloured blue due to the presence of toxic chemicals. “I have been told that the water (water cannons) had some chemical in it which is why people have been vomiting,” Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference. The Union Law Minister also accused the Mamata government of injuring over 1500 BJP workers.
#NewsAlert | Top BJP leaders take to the streets in Bengal, Chemical Water sprayed on BJP workers in Howrah.
Cops Lathicharge the protestors, water cannons used.
Debasish reports from Howrah Maidan.
— CNNNews18 (@CNNnews18) October 8, 2020
The West Bengal administration has, on expected lines, denied charges levelled against it of using chemicals against BJP workers during the protest march, and instead said that the water was colourised in order to identify protestors in the aftermath of the police action. Combined with the usage of tear gas, the alleged use of chemical water by West Bengal police must have made the BJP workers go through hell.
The BJP has, meanwhile, levelled severe charges against West Bengal police arresting over 500 of its workers, with BJYM National President Tejaswi Surya saying that over one thousand BJP workers have been injured during the peaceful rally at three different junctures of the city near Hastings, Howrah Maidan and Santragachhi areas.
The most serious charge levelled by the BJP against the TMC regime and its usurped institutions, however, is that of the extensive usage of country-made crude booms against BJP workers from the rooftops of buildings located along the route of the Nabanno Chalo protest march. In fact, videos have even shown the police allegedly throwing crude bombs upon protestors from rooftops.
One more 😣 pic.twitter.com/U0D4QfKQdr
— Shash (@BefittingFacts) October 8, 2020
Crude bombs and the TMC are no strangers, and have, in fact, in recent past, become synonymous to one another. West Bengal Governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar had even gone as far as saying that the “State has become home to illegal bomb-making that has potential to unsettle democracy.” As reported by TOI, on Wednesday this week itself, crude bombs were hurled in Birbhum district upon BJP workers who had assembled for a rally. The BJP has accused the TMC of hurling bombs on its workers, even as Didi’s party has denied such allegations.
In July, several party workers were injured in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, as crude bombs were hurled at a rally led by BJP MP Arjun Singh over alleged corruption in cyclone relief distribution. Even then, the TMC was accused of hurling the bombs, which in the past, its workers have lost hands and even lives trying to manufacture. There have been umpteen instances of TMC workers manufacturing crude bombs, losing their lives in the process every now and then, subsequent to which the TMC disowns them.
Finally, the murder of BJP workers is something we do not need to throw light upon. As a matter of fact, the entire BJP protests in Bengal now, are about the political killings of their workers. The incumbents fear a massive undercurrent against them prevalent in the state, which is why they are trying to salvage their political fortunes by using all means necessary and available.