Bengal Post-poll Violence: There’s blood on everyone’s hand

| Debjani Bhattacharyya
  • NHRC has reportedly stated that West Bengal is under Law of Ruler and not Rule of Law!
  • Out of the 9,304 people named as accused, less than 3% are currently in jail – NHRC report.
  • Being ‘secularly’ Nehruvian, opposing BJP at its face value is a common practice of a section of Bengal populace.
  • A significant part of these people are direct or indirect beneficiaries of TMC’s politics of selectively gratifying sections of the society.
  • There are several features of Mamata Banerjee that fascinate common men and those who go close to her.
  • The dubiety prevails as the Union of India has not yet stepped in and taken any concrete step to alleviate miseries of violence victims.

Post poll Bengal Violence had been projected as a myth by West Bengal’s ruling party and their followers. National Human Rights Commission, by order of Calcutta High Court’s 5 Judge Bench, had investigated the ground facts of Bengal violence and recently submitted their report to Hon’ble High Court on July 13. A part of that report has leaked to press and public statements wherein are beyond democratic perceptions with NHRC reportedly stating ‘West Bengal is under Law of Ruler and not Rule of Law‘ has shaken the soul of India.

The seven-member NHRC panel, set up on High Court’s order in June to look into post poll violence in the State after election results on May 2, marked Bengal clashes as “death knell of democracy”. While a part of the 50 page report by NHRC has leaked into public domain, West Bengal Chief Minister slammed such leakage and questioned why the report wasn’t submitted confidentially to the High Court. NHRC explained they’re unaware of the exact mechanism of leakage as apart from Hon’ble High Court, Commission sent its report to 10 other persons including lawyers like Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibbal etc. who too were parts of the case. As certain findings and recommendations of NHRC have already been widely reported by media and as the full report would come to public domain only after Calcutta High Court hears the case, it would be wise to abstain from commenting on details of NHRC report except one. Out of the 9,304 people named as accused, less than 3% are currently in jail, found the 7 member panel of NHRC indicating how the Government of West Bengal were protecting goons and perpetrators.

While TMC denied charges, marked NHRC report as ‘anti-Bengal‘ and accused BJP was trying to exaggerate isolated clashes, so called secular mass of Kolkata & nearby surrounding areas too had nearly subscribed to the idea that Bengal Violence was a myth being propagated by BJP out of political vendetta as they lost the assembly election to TMC. Being ‘secularly‘ Nehruvian, opposing BJP at its face value is a common practice by a section of Bengal populace. These people live in their comfort zone of ruling out the reality & extent of Bengal violence as accepting it would burst the bubble of Utopia they’re living in. Such people believe BJP is the second richest party in the world who are ‘orchestrating events in Bengal’ and subsequently ‘titling them as post poll violence’. These people also hypothesize Courts to be solely choreographed, Constitutional bodies like Election Commission of India to be biased and Statutory Body like National Human Rights Commission to be an extended wing of the ruling legislature at the Centre i.e. BJP.

Approximately around 10 – 12% of Bengal’s Hindu voters subscribe to such a belief system— suggests analysis of Election data. Does this section of Hindu Bengalis configure the moral backbone of TMC’s tyranny? Perhaps yes. This section comprises the media men of Bengal along with men solely influenced by Bengal media. A significant part of these people are direct or indirect beneficiaries of TMC’s politics of selectively gratifying sections of the society. Engineers getting assignments of road and bridge constructions through back door, Doctors indirectly patronizing malpractices in Medical Institutions and charging patients unduly heavy paying cut money to the ‘right place’, Actors, Artists, Players getting various awards sponsored by Government of West Bengal, Professors, Poets, Writers chairing different lucrative committees, ex-bureaucrats advising State administrative bodies in lieu of hefty honorarium, business persons given free pass to evade GST and State taxes in lieu of paying impressive amounts as donation to the ‘right person’ are all parts of TMC’s vote bank. This populace being direct or indirect beneficiaries of TMC-policy tend to surmise every democratic institution may be choreographed in lieu of personal benefits.

BJP’s  office in Asansol was allegedly vandalised by Trinamool Congress workers

A saying goes in Sanskrit— ĀTMAVAT MANYATE JAGAT which hardly needs any explanation. Nothing except a paradigm shift may change such a psyche which is anything but democratic. Dedication to Nehruvian leftism and/or receipt of personal benefits from TMC party ‘help’ this section of Bengalis rule out the struggle for existence of another very large section of Bengal populace who voted for BJP this year. The former feels comfortable to repudiate ‘fundamental right to life’ is being denied to innumerable people of Bengal simply because their political inclination was towards TMC’s opposition. In reality, a significantly large section of Bengal-violence-denying people are the privileged class, the ‘have’s under the present system who tend to leave a blind eye towards wretched adversities faced by others in different parts of the State. Acknowledging the reality of Bengal violence would not only cause them to lose moral high ground of being ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ etc. (as defined in post-independence, post-partition India), but also fetch them ‘anti-Bengal’ tag.

It would be relevant to mention that since West Bengal is topping in India in rate of unemployment (as high as 22%), urban and semi-urban middle class settled here do not have much employment opportunity that suits their class, taste and need. As an alternative source of earning, subscription to TMC’s political venture provides them a lump sum dole-amount from time to time. Recipients of doles through Clubs, Puja Committees, Sports Academy etc and by defalcation of money allotted to different Governmental welfare schemes, are compelled to be yes-men to TMC for subsistence and/or additional benefits. In a way, TMC as a political party has appointed a sect of Bengal populace as their retainers. Not mere voters, these people are financially dependent on TMC-cum-GOWB. Their unfortunate invertebrate status is factually attributable to their financial helplessness in the State. Is this another reason why West Bengal CM is unwilling to create true job opportunities in Bengal or to absorb tens of thousands of Government vacancies? Not impossible. In lieu of scarcity of jobs, TMC is getting retainers which in turn is costing lives of people who wanted to refuse TMC-retainership.

Another section of Bengal populace, to hold Nehruvian leftism high and to maintain status-tags of being ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ etc, doesn’t care if some other sects of Bengal mass meet untimely death facing political violence. Would splotching this section of ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ Bengal populace as ‘indirect and inadvertent perpetrators of Bengal violence’ be much inappropriate? NHRC has reportedly marked Bengal violence to be premeditated. Several pre and post-poll incidents of West Bengal corroborates with such claims of NHRC. WB CM herself indicated the probability of such mayhem and a number of videos demonstrated TMC leaders threatening Police and CRPF that they’d retaliate once ‘their government’ was back in ‘action’. However, even if Bengal violence on the ground was premeditated, Bengali Bhodroloks’ indirect participation in it by remaining silent & repudiating its reality, appears unpremeditated and eventual. Mamata Banerjee knew it well that she’d get silent support from this particular class of Bengalis.

It would be grossly incorrect to splodge TMC and its Supremo only in darker shades. There are several features of Mamata Banerjee that fascinate common men and those who go close to her. She is a well-behaved, grounded lady with next door-neighbour image in interpersonal relations which she capitalized well in her political journey all through. She’s caring, favours her own dedicated mercenaries and knows well how to use people for political and material gain. Those who go close to her generally fall for her apparent simplicity. She has the capacity to include people in mutually beneficial transactions. After being close to her, it’s hardly possible not to slip into her grip. However, haven’t we read fairy tales in childhood where a beautiful Queen in the daytime turned into a dreadful monster every night and went demonic? Haven’t we enjoyed Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

BJP national president JP Nadda meets family of party worker Abhijeet Sarkar who was killed in post-poll violence

 While verbally denying reality and extent of Bengal violence, West Bengal Government declared statewide lockdown immediately after Eid-ul-fitr stopping local trains and all other modes of inter-district transport showing Covid-cause and leaving no scope for anyone to go places in order to validate reality of violence reported through social media. While Media of Bengal synchronized their standpoint with TMC-cum-GOWB’s, why didn’t they reach the ground to cross-verify truthfulness and extent of Bengal violence? Media didn’t reach the grounds of Bengal to either disprove or approve the genuineness of Bengal violence leaving room for speculations & mistrust for all. Why did the 4th pillar of democracy stand completely defunct in probing Bengal violence? It would be relevant to mention that as West Bengal does not have almost any vibrant, large volume business, Bengal media has to depend almost exclusively on the Government of West Bengal for financial support through advertisements. Hence, even if it be assumed that Bengal media couldn’t practically be pro-active to probe post-poll violence to save their bread and butter, why didn’t even National media reach the ground of Bengal before GOWB announced lockdown? Those who hypothesize Bengal violence is manufactured and deny the reality of it need to ponder on why didn’t the media reach the ground of Bengal to disprove the claim of violence as raised by BJP & right wing nationalists.

While MHA, President of India, Supreme Court of India, Calcutta High Court have received several reports, intimations, appeals from different forums against post poll violence in West Bengal, TMC personnel and a section of Bengal populace are verbally denying it without any factual counter-evidence. While the victims are claiming victimization by goons, it’s easy to guess from TMC’s antecedents that they, with the help of GOWB, would keep no stone unturned to intimidate them either to keep their mouth shut or to change their statements. However, would Bengal’s rogue ruler be reined or Bengal syndrome would spread like fire all over India devastating India’s great democratic institutions?

The dubiety prevails as the Union of India has not yet stepped in and taken any concrete step to alleviate miseries of violence victims. Would every mortal part of those who were murdered, each scratch on raped women’s skin, ashes of those houses which are burnt, every inanimate object of those properties which are looted, every grain of rice of those paddy fields which has been vandalized and every square feet of those lands which are forcefully captured bounce back with revenge one day? To deny all denials of the miserable genocide that happened in Bengal post May 2, 2021? There’s blood on everyone’s hand.

(The opinions expressed are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SamvadaWorld)

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