Monday, April 9, 2018

Panchayat Elections in West Bengal: Slaughter of Democracy by Mamata Regime


Kolkata: THE ruling TMC in West Bengal has resorted to full-fledged assault on democracy and the rule of law as panchayat elections have started to become a farce. From the declaration of schedule to murderous attacks on opposition candidates in the nomination process, this year’s panchayat elections have brought out the authoritarian character of the TMC most crudely.

The chief minister has herself declared repeatedly that she wanted ‘opposition-free panchayats’. Her party leaders, including MPs called upon party activists to ensure that no opposition member gets elected. The monstrous process has thus started.

Though the three tier panchayat is a constitutional arrangement, every democratic norm is being violated in West Bengal. To begin with, panchayat elections were declared suddenly. In the all party meeting, held just two days before the announcement, the state election commissioner refused to discuss probable dates and confessed that he was ‘totally dependent’ on the state administration. On March 31, the State Election Commission declared the schedule. The three phase elections will be held on May 1st, 3rd and 5th. The nomination process has started from April 2. It will continue up to April 9. The process started with notification, virtually providing no time to opposition parties to prepare. The total number of seats in panchayat is 58,692. Only seven days are available for filing of nomination in such huge number of seats. Though three-phase elections have been declared, surprisingly the last date for filing of nomination is the same for all phases. The schedule also clashes with ongoing higher secondary examinations in the state. This will hinder the campaign as microphones would not be used during this period.

The schedule has also brought out nefarious designs of the ruling party. While 12 districts will go to polls on the first day, only two - Birbhum and Murshidabad - will be in the second. These two districts have been selected to intensify terror.

As soon as the process of collecting and filing of nomination papers started on April 2, TMC armed gangs began to cordon Block Development Offices (BDO), Sub Divisional Offices (SDO), and even District Magistrate’s offices in some districts. The plan is simple: the ruling party will not allow the opposition to collect and submit nomination papers. This is a new method which was applied partially in 2013 in Birbhum and some other districts. This year it has become the dominant feature in the state in the first stage of terror. The right to contest an election, a constitutional right, has become endangered, in what may be termed as, ‘pre-election rigging’.

In Birbhum, TMC miscreants gathered in numbers in Siuri, Rampurhat, Labhpur, Nanur, Ilambazar, Bolpur, Nalhati 2, Murarai, Dubrajpur and Mohammad Bazar. They cordoned the offices and chased away CPI(M), Left Front and other opposition activists who came to either collect or submit nominations. In Rampurhat, CPI(M) member of Budhigram panchayat, Panai Sheikh was brutally attacked. Sheikh is a disabled person from birth. Despite that, he was mercilessly beaten and was later admitted to hospital. CPI(M) panchayat member Rana Let was mercilessly beaten in Rampurhat. CPI(M) candidate Mitali Das was manhandled, her voter card and other documents snatched, her husband beaten in Nalhati. TMC district president and an infamous muscleman Anubrata Mondal has boasted in front of media,  “Whenever opposition supporters try to submit nomination, they will see development stands in front of them”. It was clear that he meant TMC armed gangs as ‘development’. On the second and third day, TMC cadre openly exhibited swords, knives in front of block offices. In Mauyreswar-1, they virtually blocked the entrance and CPI(M) candidate Sajjad Mirza was attacked. In Rampurhat, CPI(ML) candidate and secretary of Rampurhat Bar Association Prodyot Mukherjee was severely beaten. In Siuri, BJP leader Kalosona Mondal was stabbed in the vicinity of the DM office. Presence of media persons is banned in Birbhum block offices by the fatwa of the TMC.

On April 2, CPI(M) candidates from villages in Borjora in Bankura district came to file their nomination at the block office. TMC gangs attacked them injuring more than 30 persons including women. CPI(M) district committee member Sujoy Chowdhury, Borjora panchayat samiti member Sharif Mondal, and others were injured. Attacks continued in different parts of Bankura. In Bankura town itself, no Left Front candidate was allowed to enter the BDO office. In Hirbandh, CPI(M) activists were brutally beaten when they entered the BDO office. Many of them were injured. However, local people retaliated and chased away the TMC miscreants. In Ranibandh, TMC miscreants attacked CPI(M) activists. Later in a clash, a BJP candidate, Ajit Murmu was killed.

In East Midnapore, CPI(M) candidates were attacked in Khejuri, Panskura and Sutahata. In Sutahata, CPI(M) MLA Tapashi Mondal was attacked as she led Left Front candidates to the block office. Nur Alam, Sabhapati of Sutahata panchayat samiti was severely beaten.

In Burdwan East, block offices in Galsi, Ketugram-2, Katwa, Aushgram-2, Raina-1, Khandaghosh have been surrounded. CPI(M) leaders and candidates were attacked.

In South 24 Parganas, TMC has organised an attack in Budge Budge-1, Budge Budge-2, Falta, Magrahat-2, Diamond Harbour-2 and prevented CPI(M) candidates from collecting nomination forms.

In North 24 Parganas, TMC activists attacked CPI(M) office in Murarishah, Hasnabad and attacked Party activists. TMC gangs cordoned a market area to attack CPI(M) activists, creating largescale panic among people. CPI(M) district committee member  Shakti Mukherjee was injured among others. In Minakha, TMC activists took position within BDO office and severely beat up CPI(M) candidates.

In Coochbehar, Left Front candidates were prevented from submission of nomination forms. They were attacked and journalists were mercilessly beaten up by TMC activists.

In Raiganj in North Dinajpur, TMC gangs started firing and charged bombs to disperse opposition candidates on April 4. They terrorised the entire town and searched for CPI(M) and opposition activists. TMC armed gangs blocked nomination process in Kaliyaganj, Itahar.

In Murshidabad district, block offices in Raghunathganj, Kandi, Baroan, Salar, Raninahar, Jalangi, Nabagram, Murshidanad-Jiaganj have been captured by TMC miscreants. CPI(M) offices in Raninagar and Sherpur were vandalised.

In Hooghly, TMC armed gangs have taken control of block offices in Haripal, Jangipara and Goghat.

In almost all areas, the police have become an accomplice of the the TMC. In some districts, police have actively participated in chasing away opposition activists.

However, in such an atmosphere of State-sponsored terror, Left Front activists are trying their level best to submit nominations, braving attacks and intimidations.

NON-EXISTENT STATE ELECTION COMMISSION

The State Election Commission has abjectly surrendered and has remained totally insensitive to atrocities committed. Left Front delegation has met the state election commissioner regularly but he expressed his inability to address any of the grievances. Left Front delegation has demanded security during the nomination process, which is practically absent in districts. Apart from direct attacks, the system of providing provisional caste certificates has been cancelled. The very short time span available for nomination has made this process more difficult. State Election Commission has also failed to explain the rationale behind this schedule. While only seven days are available for submission of nominations, same number of days are allotted for withdrawal. It has been apprehended that the TMC would pressurise and force opposition candidates to withdraw.

The first phase of voting will take place on the May Day. Central trade unions, Left parties and many other organisations have forcefully objected to this denigration of International Working Peoples’ Day and demanded a change in the schedule. Trade unions have organized a rally in front of the State Election Commission’s office.

To recollect, in Mamata Banerjee’s reign, one state election commissioner had to move to courts seeking protection of her duties under tremendous threat from the state government and another was forced to resign during the election process, threatened by state ministers.

CPI(M) state secretary Surjyakanta Misra, in a press meet, said that earlier we have seen booth capturing by the TMC in every elections in West Bengal in their regime. But now BDO, SDO, even DM offices are being captured. Opposition parties are not being allowed even to submit nomination. Police is a mere spectator or partner in the crime. Opposition candidates are being attacked in the premises of administrative offices. State Election Commission has become immobile from the very beginning and the entire election machinery is run from Nabanna, the state secretariat. Whether there will be campaign and voting has become uncertain as the primary process of nomination is being resisted. Left Front will organise mass deputation to State Election Office to protest this large scale attack on democracy.

Misra, however, called upon Left activists and supporters to resist the terror and move collectively to submit nomination.

Left Front chairman Biman Basu said that the panchayat elections are destined to be farce in such an atmosphere. TMC is trying to build a ‘new kind of democracy’ without the existence of opposition.

A Left Front delegation submitted deputation to the governor. They urged him to intervene to protect constitutional rights of the people of the state.







Attacks on Panchayat Elections in West Bengal (Upto April 5, 2018)

The ruling TMC in West Bengal has resorted to full-fledged assault on democracy and rule of law as Panchayat elections have started to become a farce. From the declaration of schedule to murderous attacks on opposition candidates in the nomination process, this year’s Panchayat elections have brought out the authoritarian character of TMC most crudely.
The Chief Minister herself declared repeatedly that she wanted ‘opposition-free Panchayats’. Her party leaders, including MP-s called upon party activists to ensure that no opposition member gets elected. The monstrous process has started.
Though the three tier Panchayat is a constitutional arrangement, every democratic norm is being violated in West Bengal. To begin with, Panchayat Elections were declared suddenly. In the All Party meeting, held just two days before the announcement, the State Election Commissioner refused to discuss probable dates and confessed that he was ‘totally dependent’ on the state administration. On 31st March, State Election Commission declared the schedule. The three phase elections will be held on 1st, 3rd, 5th May. Nomination process has started from 2nd April. It will continue up to 9th April. The nomination process started with notification, virtually providing no time to opposition parties to prepare. The total number of seats in panchayat is 58,692. Only seven days are available for filing of nomination in such huge number of seats.
Though three-phase elections have been declared, surprisingly the last date of nomination filing is same for all phases. The schedule also clashed with ongoing Higher Secondary examinations in the state. This will hinder campaign as microphones would not be used during this period.  
The schedule also brought out nefarious design of the ruling party. While 12 districts will go to polls on the first day, only two- Birbhum and Murshidabad- will be in the second. These two districts have been selected to intensify terror.
As soon as the process of collecting and filing of nomination papers started on 2nd April, TMC armed gangs began to cordon Block Development Offices (BDO), Sub Divisional Offices (SDO), and even District Magistrate’s offices in some districts. The plan is simple: the ruling party will not allow opposition to collect and submit nomination papers. This is a new method, applied partially in 2013 in Birbhum and some other districts. This year it has become the dominant feature throughout the state in first stage of terror. The Right to contest in an election, a constitutional right, has become endangered in what may be termed as ‘pre-election rigging’.
In Birbhum, TMC miscreants gathered in numbers in Siuri, Rampurhat, Labhpur, Nanur, Ilambazar, Bolpur, Nalhati 2, Murarai , Dubrajpur, Mohhamedbazar. They cordoned the offices and chased away CPI(M), Left Front and other opposition activists who came to either collect or submit nominations. In Rampurhat , CPI(M) member of Budhigram Panchayat Panai Sheikh was brutally attacked. Sheikh is a disabled in his left hand from birth. Despite that he was mercilessly beaten and was later admitted in hospital. CPI(M) panchayat member Rana Let was mercilessly beaten in Rampurhat. CPI(M) candidate Mitali Das was manhandled, her voter card and other documents snatched, her husband beaten in Nalhati. TMC district President and infamous muscleman Anubrata Mondal has boasted in front of media,  “Whenever opposition supporters will try to submit nomination they will see development stands in front of them”. It was clear that he meant TMC armed gangs as ‘development’. On second and third day, TMC cadres openly exhibited swords, knives in front of block offices. In Mayureswar-1 they virtually blocked the entrance and CPI(M) candidate Sajjad Mirza was attacked.
In Rampurhat CPI(ML) candidate and secretary of Rampurhat Bar Association Prodyot Mukherjee was severely beaten. In Siuri, BJP leader Kalosona Mondal was stabbed in the vicinity of DM office. Presences of media persons are banned in Birbhum block offices by the fatwa of TMC.
On 5th April, hundreds of people gathered in Nalhati in Birbhum, determined to overcome attacks and file nominations. CPI(M) central committee member Ramchandra Dome, state committee member Goutam Ghosh were among those who led the march towards block office. TMC armed gangs threw bombs and fired to disperse the rally. Ramchandra Dome , Goutam Ghosh were seriously injured. CPI(M) activist Hiru Late was critically injured. Despite that, Left Front candidates entered block office and submitted nominations.
On 2nd April, CPI(M) candidates from villages in Borjora in Bankura district came to file their nomination in Block office. TMC gangs attacked them injuring more than 30 persons including women. CPI(M) district committee member Sujoy Chowdhury, Borjora Panchayet Samiti member Sharif Mondal, and others were injured. Attacks continued in different parts of Bankura. In Bankura town itself, no Left Front candidates were allowed to enter in BDO office. In Hirbandh, CPI(M) activists were brutally beaten when they entered in BDO office. Many of them were injured. However, local people retaliated and chased away TMC miscreants. In Ranibandh, TMC miscreants attacked CPI(M) activists. Later in a clash, a BJP candidate, Ajit Murmu was killed. On 4th April,. TMC activists and police jointly attacked CPI(M) candidates in Sonamukhi. Party MLA Ajit Roy was injured. TMC gangs blocked roads in Indpur, Gangajalghati.
In East Midnapore, Left Front candidates were attacked in Khejuri, Panskura, Sutahata. In Sutahata, CPI(M) MLA Tapashi Mondal was attacked as she led Left Front candidates to block office. Nur Alam, Sabhapati of Sutahata Panchayat Samiti was severely beaten.
In Burdwan East , block offices in Galsi, Ketugram2, Katwa, Aushgram2, Raina1, Khandaghosh have been surrounded. CPI(M) leaders and candidates were attacked.
In Burdwan West , TMc gangs have cordoned block offices in Jamuria, Andal, Salanpur. In Jamuria, submission of nomination was not allowed. CPI(M) candidates faced attack in Salanpur, Pandeveswar.
In South 24 Parganas, TMC organized attack in Budge Budge-1, Budge Budge-2, Falta, Magrahat-2, Diamond Harbour-2 and prevented Left Front candidates from collecting nomination forms.
In North 24 Parganas, TMC activists attacked CPI(M) office in Murarishah, Hasnabad and attacked Party activists. TMC gangs cordoned a market area to attack CPI(M) activists, creating large scale panick among people. CPI(M) DCM Shakti Mukherjee was injured among others. In Minakha TMC activists took position within BDO office and severely beat up CPI(M) candidates.TMC has cordoned off Sandeshkhali-1 block office.
In Coochbehar, Left Front candidates were prevented from submission of nomination forms. They were attacked and journalists were mercilessly beaten up by TMC activists.
In Raiganj in North Dinajpur, TMC gangs started firing and charged bombs to disperse opposition candidates on 4thApril. They terrorized entire town and searched for Left Front and opposition activists. TMC armed gangs blocked nomination process in Kaliyaganj, Itahar.
In Murshidabad district, block offices in Raghunathganj, Kandi, Baroan, salar, Raninahar, Jalangi, Nabagram, Murshidanad-Jiaganj have been captured by TMC miscreants. CPI(M) offices in Raninagar and Sherpur was vandalized.
In Hooghly, TMC armed gangs have taken control of block offices in Haripal, Jangipara, Goghat, Balagarh, Purshura, Dhaniakhali.
In Nadia, CPI(M) candidates were chased away from Hanskhali, Chapra, Ranaghat-2, Santipur.  
In West Medinipur, two women candidates of CPI(M) have been kidnapped in Ghatal. Women candidate and her proposer was attacked in Kharagpur. Opposition candidates were chased away from Mohanpur, Pingla, Medinipur Sadar blocks too. TMC bike-borne gangs are freely moving and creating terror.
In Howrah, Left candidates were severely beaten up and all documents snatched in Jagat Ballavpur. Many were injured and admitted to hospital. 
CPI(ML) Liberation candidates were attacked in Bankura, Dhanikhali in Hooghly. In some areas, SUCI(C) candidates were also obstructed and attacked.
In almost all areas, the police have acted as accomplices to the TMC. In some districts, police have actively participated in chasing away opposition activists.
However, in such an atmosphere of state-sponsored terror Left Front activists are trying their level best to submit nominations, braving attacks and intimidations.
As on 5th April, Nomination Report is following:
Zilla Parishad: Total Seats: 825/ TMC 61/ Left Front 91/ BJP 87/ Congress 40
Panchayat Samiti: Total Seats: 9217/ TMC 2063/ Left Front 753/ BJP 1511/Congress 158
Gram Panchayat: Total Seats 48650/ TMC 13319/ Left Front 4539/ BJP 9454/ Congress 1221
Non-existent State Election Commission
The State Election Commission has abjectly surrendered and has remained totally insensitive to atrocities committed. Left Front delegation has met State Election Commissioner regularly but he expressed his inability to address any of the grievances. Left Front delegation has demanded security for nomination process, which is practically absent in districts. Apart from direct attack, system of providing provisional caste certificate has been cancelled. The very short time span available for nomination has made this process more difficult. State Election Commission has also failed to explain the rationale behind schedule. While only seven days are available for submission of nomination, same number of days have allowed for withdrawal. It has been apprehended that TMC would pressurize and force opposition candidates to withdraw.
The first phase of voting will take place on May Day. Central trade unions, Left parties and many other organizations have forcefully objected to this denigration of International Working Peoples’ Day and demanded a change in schedule. Trade Unions organized a rally in front of State Election Commission office.
To recollect, In Mamata Banerjee’s reign, one State Election Commissioner had to move to courts seeking protection of her duties under tremendous threat from the state government and another was forced to resign during election process threatened by state ministers. On 5th April, as many as seven state ministers went to State Election Commission office to further pressurize them. On 6th April 17 parties including Left Front will sit in a dharna in front of SEC office.
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation
All India Forward Bloc
Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)



Sitaram Yechury on West Bengal Panchayet Elections

The attacks going on in West Bengal are not just on the Left Front but on the entire opposition and strikes at the very roots of democracy. We call upon all those who cherish democracy and democratic values to resist these attacks and assert their rights guaranteed under the Constitution" Demand Left Party Leaders in a press conference held in Central Committee office of the CPI(M).

See video of Press Briefing:


Sitaram Yechury on West Bengal Panchayet Elections

West Bengal Panchayat Elections: Stop Attacks, Restore Democracy & Democratic Rights

West Bengal Panchayat Elections:
Stop Attacks, Restore Democracy & Democratic Rights

·        Submission of nominations by Left Front and opposition candidates obstructed.
·        Block and SDO offices are cordoned off by TMC armed gangs.
·        Attacks on opposition activists and candidates in all districts.
·        More than 200 people have been injured.
·        State Election Commission is virtually defunct.
·        Police is complicit in attacks on Left, not enforcing standing law and order rules.
 There is an unprecedented attack on the basic democratic right to file nominations for the panchayat elections in West Bengal.
 The ruling Trinamul Congress has resorted to a full-fledged assault on democracy and the rule of law by capturing the block development offices (BDOs), sub-divisional offices (SDOs) and even District Magistrate offices in some districts to obstruct and drive away opposition candidates from filing nominations for the three-tier panchayat elections.
This is a form of pre-election rigging which makes the election a farce.
 Since 2nd April when filing of nominations began for all three phases of polling, the state has witnessed the shameful spectacle of TMC goons stationed at the administrative offices physically assaulting and chasing away candidates of the opposition and of the Left parties in particular.
 Hundreds of Left and opposition candidates have been injured, their identity cards and other papers snatched away. In many places, offices of the parties have been raided by TMC men to snatch away papers and to threaten people.
 On April 5th, Ramachandra Dome, former MP and a member of the Central Committee who was leading a group of candidates to file nominations at Nalhati in Birbhum district was brutally attacked and suffered a head injury.
 In all these attacks, the police have refused to intervene, or, are in connivance with the TMC men.
 The time given for filing of nominations for all three phases is only between 2nd and 9th April. This is too short. At the same time, the time for withdrawals is also one week, unusually long. It is apprehended that this time will be used to intimidate opposition candidates to withdraw.
 If the panchayat elections are not to be a farcical exercise, it is imperative that:

(i)          All those who wish to file their nominations are allowed to do so without any fear and intimidation;
(ii)         For this, the time for filing nominations should be extended wherever required;
(iii)       Where candidates were prevented from filing nominations, alternative arrangements should be made for them to register their candidature in secure conditions.
(iv)       Firm action should be taken against all those indulging in hooliganism, intimidation and encirclement of administrative offices.

The attacks going on in West Bengal are not just on the Left Front but on the entire opposition and strikes at the very roots of democracy.

We call upon all those who cherish democracy and democratic values to resist these attacks and assert their rights guaranteed under the Constitution.


Sitaram Yechury
D Raja
Kavita Krishnan
CPI(M)
CPI
CPI(UML)-Liberation




Pran Nath

Dharmendra Kumar
SUCI(C)

AIFB

Date: Friday, April 6, 2018


Saturday, July 16, 2016

“Come and See Blood on the Streets”

By Nilotpal Basu

Peoples Democracy, 5th June, 2016

THE playing out of gruesome violence in post-poll West Bengal will put many a horrific nightmare to shame. What makes this violence almost inexplicable to the uninitiated in the `hell-hole’ of the present political landscape of the state is the `massive mandate’, which columnists and contributors are so eloquent in articulating. No wonder! We have been tutored since our childhood to believe that `victors’ have to be forgiving; there is no room for vengeance in triumph.

But, obviously, not so in present West Bengal. In fact, what is playing out is quite the contrary. The TMC chief and the re-elected chief minister had held out the threat in the run-up to the election in repeated public meetings that once re-elected, the new administration would see to it `inch by inch’ that the efforts of the people and the opposition to defeat the TMC is ‘taken care of’. The campaign had highlighted quite blatant threats to the Election Commission and sections of the administration who were active under the `model code of conduct’ for ensuring a free and fair polls to the assembly. It may otherwise escape the attention of the ‘columnists’ but only 32 lakhs separate the popular support of the TMC front from that of the opposition; but the TMC is most acutely aware of this reality. So, even though it may appear to be otherwise inexplicable, the violence can only be decoded by the special, if not obnoxious, nature of the regime that lords over West Bengal. It is an out and out authoritarian regime that runs the state. It was the same before the elections; now even more so.

THE EMERGING PATTERN OF VIOLENCE
That the rule of law is at best a notional idea in the state is clear. Despite the efforts of holding free and fair poll, the fact remains that four CPI(M) activists were killed in the run-up to the elections. And, each of these killings were directly linked to undermine the opposition and, in particular, the CPI(M) and the Left. The violence was linked to targeting of polling agents and potential polling agents and specifically aimed at scaring away voters. In most of these cases, the killers who have been named in the police complaints have not been arrested.

Despite the atmosphere of terror and intimidation, popular urge for exercising the franchise was visible. That the `MCC’ regime of the couple of months since the announcement of the election dates could not completely neutralise the affects of terror is also equally true. Therefore, the present spate of violence is particularly targeting the `resistance’ and its nucleus – CPI(M) and the Left. The clear design is to dismantle and decimate the Party and the Left, as well as, all other opposition forces.

In these pages, details of the violence have been chronicled in the last few issues. For sure, given the current trend, it will continue to be reported for quite some time in the future. But what has to be noted is not just the physical description of the violence; but the pattern which reveals this sinister design.

Notwithstanding the spread of the violence across the length and breadth of the 20 districts of the state, what is particularly noteworthy is the fact that violence and terror has been more intense and focused in areas where the opposition has managed to register an electoral victory over the TMC, be it an assembly segment, or a municipal ward or panchayat or even a single polling booth. The basic idea is to stifle the spirit of resistance and rupture the links with the people which have resulted in the electoral reverse of the ruling party in these places.

SOME ISSUES WHICH NEEDS TO BE UNDERLINED
That areas which need to be specially noted to understand this cynical plot takes us to the Jadavpur assembly constituency. In 2011 assembly elections, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was defeated by over 30,000 votes. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the CPI(M) candidate trailed substantially. In most of the municipal wards, massive rigging led to the defeat of the Left candidates in the Kolkata municipal elections. However, this time around, Sujan Chakraborty, CPI(M) state secretariat member, won by nearly 15,000 votes. Not only that, he scored a lead in each of the ten municipal wards. This was made possible by both popular resistance as well as the measures initiated by the EC. Chakraborty defeated the incumbent power minister and former home secretary who was the TMC nominee. The chief minister herself had cast doubts about the results and expressed the need for `going into the matter’. Naturally, that is now playing out in the most medieval violence that has been let loose on not only the Party and the Left but even common voters. Attacks on houses and capture of Party offices is now the every day reality.

Another such area is Haldia, the industrial hub which adjoins Nandigram. In this area, the Party and the Left not only faced the violence by the TMC but also attempted disruption by the newly-formed party of Lakshman Seth, former MP and former Party state committee member who had been expelled for his anti-people and anti-Party activities. But braving all these, a woman, Tapasi Mondal of the CPI(M) was elected by over 10,000 votes. Therefore, this area has also come as a special target where indiscriminate violence including that on the house of the newly elected MLA is for all there to see. One could go on with countless similar instances.

Countless offices of the CPI(M), different mass and class organisations across the state have been forcibly occupied, gutted, demolished. Party leaders, mass organisation leaders, elected members at the local level, candidates and, of course, voters, none are being spared. Areas in which the TMC had to suffer reverse, voters are asked to pay an exorbitant amount as fines for carrying on their life and livelihood in their home and hearth.

The most cynical aspect of this violence is the complete inaction of the police administration in dealing with offences which stem from political vendetta. The reasons are not hard to find. Officers of the civil and the police administration who had been transferred out by the Election Commission during the pendency of MCC have been reverted back to their earlier positions immediately on the assumption of office, notwithstanding the public approval of officers who had covered themselves with positive impact on the fairness of the election process. Similarly, number of ministers who had lost the elections had been appointed in high level positions in their respective erstwhile departments. This is to send out a clear message that these defeats are of no consequence, so far as the ruling party is concerned!

THE THREAT OF COMMUNAL POLARISATION
The intense orchestrated violence is accompanied with another major threat of communal polarisation. The repeated visits of prime minister Modi in West Bengal in the run up to the assembly elections and his `intended’ attacks on the TMC was to create an atmosphere of polarisation and to cut down the possible electoral loss for the TMC. The North Bengal districts which were considered a strong ground for the Left and secular opposition saw a more pronounced presence of the BJP. Two of its three seats where they have won falls in this region. The votes polled by BJP in North Bengal is 16 percent as compared to 8 percent in the south Bengal districts. Overall, the BJP’s vote share has come down from 17 percent in 2014 Lok Sabha elections to 10 percent in the 2016 assembly elections. It is also clear that the victories were registered due to unusual decrease of the TMC votes in these seats.

Naturally, this selective presence of the BJP and the accompanying communal campaign is complemented by the TMC’s pandering to minority communal forces. The latest evidence of this is in the form of inclusion of Siddiqullah Chaudhury who was till the other day associated with Jamaat-e-Ulema and had openly supported the activities of fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh.
Therefore, it is the continuous quid-pro-quo between the ruling party in the centre and that in the state will loom large.

The authoritarian build-up during the last five years will be further accentuated is a fact which is becoming increasingly clear.

RESISTANCE AND UNITY
While it is clear that the violence that we are witnessing is far more intense and widespread than in the `hoodlum days’ of the seventies and the semi-fascist regime of Siddharth Shankar Ray, the growing unity of the people is also something which one cannot miss. Braving the violence in the very initial days of these post-poll violence are signs of resistance in certain areas. Villagers, poor people who have got together, chased away miscreants and attackers. There has been widespread revulsion against an incident where a pregnant woman had to suffer a miscarriage of her unborn foetus when she was pushed and kicked while attempting to save her husband and his companions from the attacks launched by the TMC goons. There is major protest particularly in the social media over the lynching of a girl student in Ashutosh College in South Kolkata when she went to collect her admit card for the examination simply because she happens to be an SFI activist.

Therefore, unity and resistance, is the way forward. Authoritarianism cannot be permanent. Issues of policy of both the central and state governments will definitely adversely affect the life and livelihood of the people. Struggle for restoration of democracy and against these anti-people policies will go hand-in-hand to restore civil rights. It is with this in mind that the CPI(M) Polit Bureau, in its recently-held meeting, has given a clarion call: “Under these circumstances, the CPI(M) calls upon the people of West Bengal to unitedly resist this murder of democracy and civil liberties in the state. The strength of the people’s unity is the answer to meet this unprecedented unleashing of violence.”

TMC ATTACK SINCE POLL ANNOUNCEMENT 2016


INTENSIVE political violence against the opposition is continuing after election results have been declared in West Bengal. Ten Left Front activists have been killed during and after the election process, four of them after the declaration of results. But the magnitude of the attack cannot be comprehended only through the number of the killed. 1,924 activists and supporters have been injured in the attack; many of them were admitted in hospitals. More than 9,200 persons have been rendered homeless, 2,876 houses were ransacked, destroyed or burnt. At least in 12 cases, cluster of houses in the villages were put to flames. In a clear message that opposition parties will not be allowed to function in a normal manner, offices of Left parties and mass organisations were attacked, destroyed, ransacked, seized or burnt in large numbers. 575 offices of the CPI(M) or Left parties and 128 offices of mass organisations were attacked in these ways. Another feature is the direct attack on livelihood. Hundreds of shops, mostly small, belonging to Left supporters were looted and ransacked. In villages, ‘suspected’ Left voters are being denied jobs including MNREGA. In industrial areas or in construction sites casual and contract workers are sacked. There is all-pervasive atmosphere of fear in government offices, municipalities and rural level administration.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Victor’s violence

Victor’s violence: The repeated attacks on the oppostion after the Trinamool Congress scored a huge victory vindicate the allegation that the ruling party wants an opposition-free political scenario in the State. By SUHRID SANKAR CHATTOPADHYAY

http://www.frontline.in/politics/victors-violence/article8700834.ece

CPI(M) Will Fight Back Terror in West Bengal


KOLKATA, 13th June: THE CPI(M) has decided to develop broader unity to resist violent attacks on people in West Bengal after the elections. The state committee meeting of the Party, on June 11-12 called upon the Party workers and people to stand in unison against murderous attacks. Party will also focus on issues of livelihood to build up class and mass movements.

Eight Left Front activists have been killed during and after the election process, two of them after the declaration of results. But the magnitude of the attack cannot be comprehended only through the number of the killed. 1,924 activists and supporters have been injured in the attack; many of them were admitted in hospitals. More than 9,200 persons have been rendered homeless, 2,876 houses were ransacked, destroyed or burnt. At least in 12 cases, cluster of houses in the villages were put to flames.

In a clear message that opposition parties will not be allowed to function in a normal manner, offices of Left parties and mass organisations were attacked, destroyed, ransacked, seized or burnt in large numbers. 575 offices of the CPI(M) or Left parties and 128 offices of mass organisations were attacked in these ways.

Another feature is the direct attack on livelihood. Hundreds of shops, mostly small, belonging to Left supporters were looted and ransacked. In villages, ‘suspected’ Left voters are being denied jobs including MNREGA. In industrial areas or in construction sites casual and contract workers are sacked. There is all-pervasive atmosphere of fear in government offices, municipalities and rural level administration.

CPI(M) has decided to launch movement to defend democratic, civil rights at four levels. Firstly, Party will build up movements with independent strength. There will be resistance keeping in mind the objective situation of the area, mobilising people. Secondly, the Left Front will initiate programmes, discussing the details in the Front. Thirdly, CPI(M) will strive for united action with Left parties outside the Left Front, on issues. The Party wants to build up broader Left unity. And, lastly, broader mobilisation will be done including the friendly parties of Left Front like RJD, JD(U), NCP and other secular parties. This may include Congress too in different localities. CPI(M) will try to build up broadest possible peoples unity in the process. It is urgently needed to develop broad platforms to resist fascistic onslaught on rights and livelihood of the people.

In the state committee meeting of the Party, primary review of the election results was conducted. After the meeting, state secretary Surjyakanta Misra briefed media on some of the aspects of this review. The entire election process was conducted in an atmosphere of terror. The reign of terror, prevailing in the state for last five years have impacted organisational strength of the Party too. In many areas, proper organisational activities could not be stepped up during elections because of this atmosphere. While it was true that voting was more peaceful than 2014 Lok Sabha elections, many distortions took place. In many constituencies, 20 to 60 booths witnessed rampant false voting, capturing, and ouster of opposition polling agents. Peoples’ verdict was not reflected properly in these areas, making an overall impact on the results. Election Commission has not been able to implement corrective measures in such cases. In fact, the EC has taken steps in five percent of allegations filed by Left parties.

Review also identified organisational weakness of the Party. In many areas, proper organisational work could not be conducted at booth level. Despite large gatherings in public meeting, door to door contact was weak. Alienation with people in different areas could not be overcome yet. But, it was clear that wherever organisational activities were regular and relations with people was maintained, the result was comparatively better. As Left, democratic, secular forces fought this election together, it is difficult to separate vote share among them. In 169 assembly constituencies, votes for these candidates have increased. Within assembly constituencies, aggregate vote and share of Left candidates have increased in large number of booths as well. Booth level detail review will be done to ascertain the reasons of increase or decline of votes.

Misra said the discussion in the state committee has shown that enthusiasm and spontaneous response among Left supporters grew during the election process. However, it could not be translated into increase of votes proportionately everywhere.

Misra has categorically asserted that Left Front will remain united and will continue to fight on peoples’ issues. There may be some difference in perceptions among the constituents, which has happened in the past too. But these differences will be resolved through discussion within the front. 

TMC ATTACK SINCE POLL ANNOUNCEMENT 2016


TMC ATTACK SINCE POLL ANNOUNCEMENT 2016





















Widespread Attack Continues in West Bengal

KOLKATA, 30th May, 2016: INTENSIVE political violence against the opposition is continuing after election results have been declared in West Bengal.

Nine Left Front activists have been killed during and after the election process, two of them after the declaration of results. But the magnitude of the attack cannot be comprehended only through the number of the killed. 1,924 activists and supporters have been injured in the attack; many of them were admitted in hospitals.

More than 9,200 persons have been rendered homeless, 2,876 houses were ransacked, destroyed or burnt. At least in 12 cases, cluster of houses in the villages were put to flames.

In a clear message that opposition parties will not be allowed to function in a normal manner, offices of Left parties and mass organisations were attacked, destroyed, ransacked, seized or burnt in large numbers. 575 offices of the CPI(M) or Left parties and 128 offices of mass organisations were attacked in these ways. Another feature is the direct attack on livelihood.

Hundreds of shops, mostly small, belonging to Left supporters were looted and ransacked. In villages, ‘suspected’ Left voters are being denied jobs including MNREGA. In industrial areas or in construction sites casual and contract workers are sacked. There is all-pervasive atmosphere of fear in government offices, municipalities and rural level administration.

In Basudebpur village in Purba Medinipur district, CPI(M) activist Amit Pradhan was brutally killed by the TMC gang. His only ‘fault’ was that he was a polling agent of the CPI(M) in Bhagabanpur assembly constituency. Pradhan, along with his father was kidnapped by the TMC miscreants. Amit, 32 and father of a child, was mercilessly beaten to death. Even after this brutality, the TMC activists tried to snatch his body, probably to cover up murder. However, the villagers were able to send his body to Medinipur district hospital.

Amit Pradhan was martyred. But thousand others who were the polling agents of Left parties and opposition like him have become special targets of the TMC attack after polls. Many of them have suffered serious injuries, their houses attacked and ransacked, family members tortured. Many have been forced to leave their residences. Hundred others have been ordered to pay ‘fine’ to stay at their home.

After the election results were out in the state, the attacks organised by the ruling party  are widespread but they are meticulously planned too. They have particularly targeted areas where the Left and the opposition got wide support. TMC has also targeted particular booth areas, booth level activists and important functionaries at local level. Apart from physical attack, all-out assault on houses are designed to instill fear among people.

CPI(M) state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra has alleged that the target of the ruling party is to eliminate the opposition as a whole. Even after a big win, they are afraid of people.

In Basirhat, barbaric attack took place in village Panigobra. CPI(M) has won in Basirhat (North) constituency, defeating the TMC. The defeated MLA of the TMC led the attack in the village which has mostly supported the Left Front in the elections. TMC goons went to Panigobra and tried to disrupt a meeting of CPI(M) supporters there. But initially they were chased away by the villagers. After some time,  TMC mobilised armed gangs from many places in the area and cordoned Panigobra. They attacked and ransacked houses, looted many shops too and then set fire to houses. TMC gangs blocked the road to the village so that police and fire tenders could not reach. When the police managed to enter the village, TMC miscreants attacked police too and some of the policemen suffered injuries. Hundreds of villagers were forced to flee the village. Panigobra remained deserted for a week. The villagers have lost almost everything, from household materials to utensils. Burnt houses, remnants of structures reflect the wrath of the ruling party in post poll West Bengal.

The residents of a neighbouring village extended their help and it was they who started feeding women and children from 250 families of Panigobra who were forced to leave . CPI(M) organised a relief camp for all – including the TMC supporters. But once again this effort at peace was disturbed as the TMC leaders threatened to dismantle the camp.

In Narayangarh in West Midnapore, TMC attacked and looted the houses of CPI(M) district secretariat member Anil Patra and Party’s Narayangarh local committee secretary Sushen Sahu. They ransacked both houses, looted cycles, household materials, damaged doors and windows. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Surjyakanta Mishra contested from Narayangarh.

Newly elected MLA of Bishnupur in Bankura, Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya was attacked.

In Barjora, TMC gangs attacked and destroyed a number of CPI(M) offices in Pakhanna, Tajpur and other villages. Newly elected CPI(M) MLA Sujit Chakraborty along with other Party leaders went to the affected villages. When they were returning, TMC gangs gheraoed  their car. The car of Chakraborty was ransacked. The miscreants tried to drag him out of the car. He suffered an injury in right hand but could leave the place somehow.

Newly elected CPI(M) MLA Tapashi Mondal’s house was attacked in Haldia. Her house was ransacked.

As the attack continues, the resistance is also growing.

In Patrasayar in Bankura, TMC forced the villagers in Kantor to join their victory rally though the Left Front candidate was ahead in this village in the election. Naturally the villagers were not enthusiastic to join the TMC rally. Later a TMC gang attacked houses but villagers came out in numbers and resisted the attack. Some of the villagers were injured.

In Gotan village in Raina in Burdwan district, TMC organised armed gangs from neighbouring Hooghly district and attacked the houses of CPI(M) supporters. They began to loot the houses. First voice of protest came from Minati Roy, a 35 year old housewife. The miscreants assaulted her, snatched her earrings leaving her bleeding. This incident ignited women of the village who came out with whatever they could gather. They chased TMC miscreants and villagers joined in united resistance. TMC miscreants hurled bombs and one villager Mritunjoy Bag was injured. He was hospitalised.