Rape of Democracy
Organiser   17-May-2018

Intro : Amidst killing of BJP workers and terrorising people not to file nominations against TMC candidates in Panchayat polls, the State Election Commission confesses that total anarchy prevails in the state

Jisnu Basu

With just one year to go for Lok Shabha polls, the constituents of opposition alliance are at loggerhead over projection of their mass leader. March 20, a day after Telangana CM K Chandrashekher Rao announced her name as a national figure of non-BJP non-Congress federal front, Mamata Banerjee called for “BJP mukt Bharat” at Hyderabad. After Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mamata is dreaming to be the Messiah of Muslims. In the last few months she spent most of her time out of West Bengal to organise parties against BJP. In this period the nomination process for Panchayat elections in the state claimed many lives of opposition activist. Politicised police force and paralyzed district administration made the election process a farce.

It was anyway in public knowledge that Trinmool Congress would fight the opposition tooth and nail in the Panchayat elections. On November 15, 2017 Anubrata Mondal, Birbhum district president of TMC had openly threatened Kashinath Mistri, DSP of Police. Farmers of Bolpur protested against the hooliganism of TMC activists. “Go and arrest the farmers by the afternoon otherwise we will set their houses ablaze after sunset”, he warned the DSP on camera. This time Anubrata summoned the intending candidates and announced, “Candidates, who file nomination against us would get small capsules for their treatment!” TMC’s Birbhum district president commented: “There is a mosquito net in place to prevent mosquitoes from coming in” he would not spare anyone for BJP, CPI(M) and Congress. However he said if the CPI(M) and Congress leaders telephone him, he would ensure that they file nomination.”

In reality, TMC goons threatened the candidates, ransacked their houses and forced them to withdraw their nominations. Chitralekha Roy, the BJP (read only opposition) candidate in Birbhum Zilla Parishad withdrew her candidature on April 12. On April 23, TMC workers killed BJP worker Sheikh Dildar just in front of Shiuri BDO office. Finally, Anubrata Mondal bagged all 42 Zilla Parishad seats uncontested. TMC has grasped 16 Panchayat Samitis out of 19 without any contest. Opposition parties could file their nominations at merely 27 out of 167 Gram Panchayat seats in the district.

Media persons and the people of Birbhum witnessed curiously how Ashis Banerjee, Minister of Biotechnology, Statistics & Programme Implementation, organised terror before office of the DM in Rampurhat on April 10. They deployed three tier barricades. First barricade was made by police which didn’t allow 4/5 persons together to go towards the DM office. The BJP workers were thrashed black and blue by the goons when they tried to go there. Asish Banerjee and his associates instructed the TMC workers to snatch nomination papers from the opposition candidates.

Birbhum exposed the actual face of Mamata’s democracy. TMC captured all Zilla Parishad seats in Bnakura, Murshidabad and Birbhum districts. The scenario is mostly same at other places as well. At present 34% seats are unopposed all over West Bengal. 25% of Zilla Prarishad seats were announced uncontested. Opposition failed to file nomination at 33% seats. There will be no election in 16,814 Gram Panchayat seats. The Panchayat elections are the demonstration of Mamata’s master plan for “politically finishing” the BJP.

Ajit Murmu, a ST labourer from Punashya, Bankura, joined the BJP in January 2014. On April 4, 2018 he went to Ranibadh BDO office to file his nomination papers. A group of TMC goons attacked him with deadly weapons. Ajit died in Bankura district hospital immediately after admission (FIR No. 17/18 dated April 4). No one has so far been arrested for killing Ajit in broad daylight. Clear directives have been received by district committees of TMC to threaten, traumatise, torture and kill the opposition workers, if required, for capturing the Panchayat seats. 

Atrocities against Women

Jayashree Biswas of Ghoralia Jola Para, Shantipur, Nadia, filed her nomination as BJP candidate for booth number 220 of ZP-29. Local TMC leaders had been continuously pressurising her to withdraw nomination. On April 30 midnight at around 2 o’clock, a group of TMC hooligans ransacked her house, looted valuable goods and tortured the family members. They looked for Jayshree, but she somehow escaped. Then they attacked her sister-in-law, Pritika who was 6 months pregnant. TMC goons molested and thrashed her. She was hospitalised and had miscarriage. A complaint had been lodged at Shantipur Police station (FIR No.138/18) against the TMC goons and no action has been taken.

On April 7, West Bengal witnessed an example of extreme barbarism in a public premise at Arambag SDO office in Hoogly district. Women activists of Forward Block were attacked by TMC goons. They removed sarees of the candidate and her daughter in law and molested them. Everything is on camera. In Baruipur, South 24 Parganas TMC goons thrashed and molested a female candidate of BJP in SDO office campus. Bengali and national channels aired the video on April 20. However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed it as "nothing but drama" and said everything will run as usual.

Role of police

Initially, police were mere spectators. They allowed TMC goons to torture the opposition party workers. On duty government staff repeatedly requested the police force to protect them and opposition party workers; police didn’t listen to their request. In front of police force TMC tortured opposition workers, molested the women and also murdered political activists.

The role of Police after the death of party activists is also noteworthy. After the death of Ajit Murmu, Bankura and Shaikh Dildar, their family members accused TMC for the murder. Their statements were broadcast on TV channels. Within few hours police picked up one weakest member of the poor family and handed over to the local TMC leaders. After a rigorous inhuman treatment the family members came out with different version.

Court of law: The last hope

Judiciary is the only surviving pillar of democracy in West Bengal. Opposition parties including the BJP approached Calcutta High Court for justice. Justice Subrata Talukdar sought from the State Election Commission (SEC) a comprehensive status report on the poll process, detailing the number of nominations filed and the percentage of nominations rejected, amongst other information. SEC confessed that total anarchy is on going in the state! The available security force is inadequate to manage the election. As Ramzan will start from May 15, Mamata government recommends completing the election before that. SEC on recommendations of Bengal government has notified Panchayat elections on May 14. Earlier the election was supposed to be held in three phases. At present, the state government can provide over 46,000 armed personnel to provide security for 43,000-odd locations hosting 58,500-odd booths. People of the state are not convinced that these numbers would add up to adequate security. Opposition had no other way than to knock at the doors of High Court again.