Bengal, which once was the cradle for nationalism, ideation, progress, art, and literature, has gradually become synonymous with Violence and hate crimes. Now, violence seems to be deeply entrenched in the political culture of Bengal. The communist government started this intolerant ideology of hate that saw a meteoric rise under Mamata’s government. TMC, which has been in power for more than a decade, has failed miserably in upholding the rule of law. The recent incidents of violence and clashes are just an extension of this hate politics.
Recently, the principal opposition party, BJP, launched a protest march against the misgovernance of Mamata Banerjee and the deep-rooted corruption under her reign. This led to a protest march up to the state secretariat known as Nabanna. Bengal Police, which has been accused to be the extended arm of TMC, led a massive crackdown on the political “Nabanna Cholo” protest march. To stop BJP leaders from reaching the state secretariat, Police resorted to using water cannons, tear gas and lathi charge.
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At several places, violent clashes broke out between BJP and TMC cadres. In the brutal Police crackdown around 250 BJP workers and some police personnel suffered severe injuries. Along with that, the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Shubendu Adhikari and State BJP President Sukanta Majumdar were also arrested.
#CholoNabonno has clearly rattled the corrupt and power-drunk in West Bengal.
Bengal has risen to reclaim its glory. Bengal has risen against anarchy, corruption and murder of democracy. No amount of muscle-flexing and state-sponsored violence will mute people’s voices.
— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) September 13, 2022
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Further, BJP leaders filed a petition against the alleged atrocities committed by Bengal Police. Seeing the urgency of the matter, the Calcutta High Court took cognizance of the petition. The Honourable Court sought a detailed report from the Mamata government on the alleged police atrocities committed during the protest march. The HC directed the Bengal Police to not illegally detain any person and ensure that there is no damage to public property.
Mamata Banerjee’s Road to the Power Corridor
The news of violence during the protest march is not new to the state. In fact, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee made inroads in the state politics enduring violence at the hands of Communist governments and then herself expertising in this ugly trait of Bengal politics. Her two major political protests, the Singur and Nandigram protests, had witnessed violent clashes. These two aggressive and violent protests heralded her onto the throne of Bengal and uprooted the three decades of bloody rule of Communist governments.
In 2006, the Singur political protest started against the Tata group’s proposed factory.
The Tata Group had planned to set up a Nano manufacturing factory in the village. For the development of the region, the then left government acquired 997 acres of land from farmers and handed it over to the Tatas. This rare developmental work of the Left government witnessed a vehement opposition from the disgruntled and aggressive leader Mamata Banerjee. She opposed the setting up of the Tata factory in Singur and called a 26-day hunger strike. This ugly political protest forced Tata to change plans and start a Nano factory in Sanand, Gujarat in 2008.
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In the year of 2007, Mamata Banerjee led the Nandigram political protest over the row of land acquisition. Reportedly, several women were gang-raped and many were killed in the political aftermath that lasted for nearly ten months. Around 14 people died because of Police firing.
History of Violence in Mamata Rule
Unfortunately, in 2011, it was not just power that was transferred from the Left government to Mamata Banerjee. The culture of violence followed with more vigour and intolerance for its naysayers. Evidently, the NCRB data too reflects this gory state of affairs in Bengal.
Around 38 civilians lost their lives for political reasons, which was the highest across the nation. Tragically all such ugly records have been inked under the name of Bengal.
In 2012, the state witnessed a minor drop in cases of political violence as per standard of violent culture in Bengal politics. Around 22 people died that year, still a scary number, isn’t it? In 2013, Bengal again made a record for highest number of political killings with 26 people killedA similar behest of political violence. Similar trend has been going on unathe bated in the state with no frown from Liberal brigade or the champions of Human Rights.
NCRB data show that between 1999 and 2016 political murders in Bengal averaged 20 per year. From the panchayat elections in 2018 till October 2020, about 100 political workers were killed in Bengal.
The recent NCRB data of 2021 revealed that West Bengal registered the highest number of political murders across the whole nation.
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However, things become scarier during the peak hours of elections. As per official figures, 21 people were killed during the panchayat elections held in 2013. Around 15 political murders took place during the the elections held in different phases of Lok Sabha elections 2014. Additionally, around 1100 incidents of political violence were registered across the state. In the 2018 Panchayat elections, 18 people lost their lives for political reasons. More than 12 people were brutally hacked to death, again for political reasons, during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Notably, the bloodlust and spree of violence during last year’s assembly elections are still afresh in everyone’s memory. TMC lionised goons and gave a clarion call to them through its slogan “Khela Hobe“. BJP leaders, voters and sympathisers were dehumanised and hunted down akin to Jewish holocaust. Reportedly, around 60 innocent lives were lost in the post-poll violence in the state, which included more than 50 BJP workers.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that TMC has given a free hand to goons and anti-social elements in the state. So, if things like this persist in Bengal, Presidential rule or Judiciary seems to be the last resort for its citizens to escape the wrath of goons and corrupt power-hungry leaders.
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