Elections in West Bengal have never been as violent as they have been during this time. After curbing free speech and freedom to campaign, now even legends are at stake in Mamata’s Bengal as her goons demolished even Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue to save her citadel
Debu Chowdhury from Kolkata
Ever since Mamata Banerjee has taken over the reins of West Bengal, political violence, illegal trade, religious appeasement and ‘syndicate raj’ have increasingly bared their fangs in West Bengal like a poisonous snake. Religious and sectarian violence is consistently growing like India’s GDP. Democracy and law & order situation are at its lowest.
Vehicles set ablaze by TMC goons during Amit Shah’s roadshow for the last phase of Lok Sabha polls in Kolkata on May 14
Last year West Bengal Panchayat Elections witnessed the worst political violence in Independent India’s history with an official death toll of 37. Bengali Hindus here had to knock the doors of Calcutta High Court to seek permission to celebrate Durga Puja. Saraswati Puja is stopped in government schools, children are forced to study Urdu instead of Bengali in Darivit in Dinajpur. Idol of Maa Kali, who is revered by Bengali Hindus is covered during Muharram procession in Howrah. Students, academicians, artists, cartoonists are termed Maoists, Naxals and what not on being asked simple questions. Industry, GDP, jobs, academics everything is sliding down here. Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Rabindranath Tagore no more dominates Film Festivals and Book Fairs, its all Mamata banners and posters. Law and order situation is at its worst. Mamata questions the Army, disbelieves Indian Air Force, illegally detains CBI, and sits in dharna for Rajeev Kumar. But she maintains studded silence when advocates are brutally beaten & female practitioners are manhandled inside Howrah and Basirhat Courts. Advocates across Bengal have now gone on an indefinite strike from April 24. Democracy is in danger in Bengal. High Court has to register a suo-moto case against different State Authorities including Police & Municipality.
BJP leaders during a silent protest at Jantar Mantar on May 15 against the attack on party chief Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata
Women are not secure here. Unmarried young Hindu girls go missing regularly and police fail/fear to recover them from Metiabruz & Mograhat. Firhad Hakim calls such areas Mini-Pakistan, and he is made Kolkata’s Mayor. Girls are kidnapped, raped and burnt alive, their brothers stabbed, and Mamata has fixed compensation amount (rate) for rape victims on the basis of their virginity (married women gets less, and unmarried girls get more). Even then Mamata & Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (Trinamool MP from Barasat) jumped into conclusion on day 1, defended the rape accused, and called the survivor (as in the Park Street Rape Case) a cheap women. He also shamefully termed the incident fabricated. Why did he do so? Perhaps they knew the accused personally or because they belonged to a particular community.
Mamata’s rule of Intimidation and Terror
Apart from Tajinder Bagga, Mamata's police have arrested people for a cartoon or a Facebook post.
BJYM worker Priyanka Sharma was arrested last week for posting a meme of CM Mamata Banerjee. The SC granted her bail on May 14 but the police released her 18 hours later only after making her sign on a apology letter.
- In September 2018, a BJP worker was arrested for commenting on Mamata in his Facebook post.
- In 2017, Ambikesh Mahapatra, a professor at Jadavpur University was arrested for circulating a cartoon of CM Mamata Banerjee.
- More than 42 BJP workers killed in North Bengal by TMC goons in the last eight months. Their family members have been threatened with dire consequences.
Ironically, Mamata's favourite quote this election season is to save democracy but in reality it seems that it is West Bengal under her rule that needs to return to democracy so that people can live and vote without fear.
No Freedom to Campaign in West Bengal?
And now the worst happened on May 14, 2019, when Mamata’s Trinamool goons broke Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue inside Vidyasagar College, and started throwing stones from inside Vidyasagar College premises on a passing political rally of BJP President Amit Shah, just to artificially attract the attention of BJP workers and entangle them in a political clash. Vidyasagar’s statue is broken by Trinamool goons, Trinamool Chatra Parishad students come up with fabricated stories of vandalism, Mamata arranges a quick counter rally within an hour, and puts the blame on Amit Shah and BJP. Videos collected from nearby buildings and personal accounts of the students of the college clearly indicate that the stones were hurled from inside Vidyasagar College premises first. Mamata needs proof for Surgical Strikes, Balakot Air Strikes, but she and her police are not ready to share the CCTV footage with media.
Listed as the Greatest Bengali of all times by BBC in 2004, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who sacrificed all his life for women education, fought polygamy and pioneered the Women Remarriage Bill, was broken to pieces by the followers of a women Chief Minister, who has the least respect for such lofty men. The legendary Vidyasagar — meaning ocean of knowledge — the Bengali who gave Barna Parichoy to the academicians of undivided Bengal, was made a political tool by a Chief Minister. She has scant respect for educationists and academicians as displayed by her during her entire tenure.
Eyewitness says TMCP goons broke Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue
TMC and Mamata had claimed that BJP workers had vandalised the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in the college. This claim was soon proven wrong by videos shot by many onlookers and students. Infact, a student of the Vidyasagar college, Biraj Narayan Roy, has posted his personal account of what exactly happened at the college. Here is the text of Biraj Narayan's post which was originally in Bengali:
“I'm a student of Vidyasagar College. I'm a student of Kolkata University. But today TMCP (Trinamool Chhatra Parishad) used both these institutes for their heinous politics which is totally shameful. I live close to Vidyasagar College, hence have witnessed the entire incident closely. The BJP rally was peaceful. During the movement of the rally, the first brick was thrown from inside the college. Then after the rally passed by, it was the TMCP boys themselves who torched the bikes.
Now I'll come to the destruction of the statue.
The statue is kept quite inside the Bidhan Shoroni Campus of the Vidyasagar College. To reach the statue one has to cross two gates. First is an iron gate, then next is a wooden door. The College gate already had a lock on it. Then how was it possible for the BJP cadre to cross the gates and reach the statue? Plus the TMCP cadre was already present inside to throw bricks and stones. The entire incident is staged and imaginary.
TMCP cadre themselves first torched the bikes, broke the statue then called the media to show. Then the Kolkata police came and did lathi charge, common people walking on the road were caught and taken away.
In the end I'd just say I'm feeling very ashamed to see the role of media/journalists being a student of journalism myself. I don't think there's need of saying much on this issue. Common people nowadays have started seeing journalism as a very low level occupation. And it seems even journalists are trying their level best to prove them right!"
Mamata who waxes eloquent about Bengali pride, women empowerment and democracy, has people like Anubrata, Tapas Pal, Moon Moon Sen, Firhad Hakim, Imam Rahman Barkati, Siddiqullah Chowdhury and the likes as her lieutenants who have no respect for the legends, culture of the great land or any concern for the common man of the state. Anubrata Mandal threatens cops and BJP workers. Tapas Pal and Firhad Hakim are accused in the 2500 crore Saradha chit fund scandal. Imam Rahman Barkati is charged of conducting illegal marriages and blames attire of women for increase in rape cases. Siddiqullah Chowdhury slams country’s highest judicial body the Supreme Court for banning triple talaq. Common man of Bengal is asking today with associates like these, does Mamata have the right to talk about Women empowerment, corruption or federalism.
Bengal is certainly going through a dark phase. Many opine that Mamata is considered next only to Suhrawardy in politics of divisiveness in Bengal. Jai Shri Ram is a slang (gali) according to her. Hindus here are arrested for chanting the name of Shri Ram. Bengal is fast turning into the epicentre of jihadi elements with tacit support of their messiah Mamata Banerjee. As vote bank politics of her and her cronies burns Bengal, Hindus live in fear of a repeat of what happened to the Pandits in Kashmir in the late 1980s. Hindus would do well to vote wisely and choose their leaders, lest they see Mamata becoming another Farooq Abdullah for them.
(The writer is a practicing advocate at Calcutta High court and a Research Scholar at Department of Law, NEHU, Shillong)