Thursday, June 30, 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.

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