Centre Must Put An End To Attacks On BJP Workers In Bengal And Misuse Of State Police By Banerjee Government
The BJP central leadership has to ensure Mamata Banerjee upholds the rule of the law in the state, and stop attacks on, and harassment via false charges of BJP workers.
Even as attacks on and murders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries and supporters continue in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has stepped up her proclivity to misuse the state police to target opposition politicians.
The latest instance of such misuse of the police was the FIR (first information report) lodged against leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari and his brother for alleged theft of tarpaulin sheets that were stored at a godown belonging to the Kanthi municipality.
Kanthi is in East Midnapore district — the home turf of the Adhikari family — and Suvendu’s brother Soumendu (who was named in the FIR registered by Kanthi Police) was the chairman of the local municipal corporation.
The police had accepted a complaint from a local Trinamool leader, who alleged that two persons broke open the locks of the municipality godown and took away tarpaulin sheets worth Rs 2 lakh in a truck.
The complainant alleged that the two ‘thieves’ were aides of the Adhikari brothers and were helped by jawans of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), who have been deployed as Suvendu’s security guards.
The police have even summoned the CAPF jawans for questioning. One of the two men accused of carrying out the alleged theft has been arrested and the police are said to be on the lookout for the other.
This comes close on the heels of the arrest of a close aide of Suvendu Adhikari in an alleged cash-for-job scam. BJP leaders said that the allegations are false and a bogus case has been lodged against Suvendu’s aide.
“This is pure political vendetta. The charges against Suvendu Adhikari and his brother are ludicrous and no one will ever believe these allegations,” said BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu.
The BJP says it is very clear that the Bengal Chief Minister is using the police to not only target her political rivals, but also the CAPF.
CAPF personnel deployed as personal security for many Bengal BJP leaders by the Union Home Ministry has been a sore point with Banerjee since these CAPF personnel have thwarted numerous attempted attacks on those whose security they were entrusted with.
“The presence of armed CAPF personnel around many BJP leaders and newly-elected legislators of the party makes them much less vulnerable to threats and attacks by Trinamool goons, and the Trinamool naturally does not like that. Banerjee wants to make all BJP functionaries and leaders feel vulnerable since that is the best way to control opposition politicians. Security cover by CAPF personnel takes away that vulnerability,” said Basu.
BJP leaders say that by targeting CAPF personnel, the Bengal government wants to show that it will reign supreme in Bengal. That move (of targeting CAPF personnel) is also aimed at demoralising the CAPF.
Banerjee’s frequent and blatant misuse of the state police to intimidate, threaten and jail her political rivals and opponents, or her critics, is too well known to bear repetition.
A number of BJP leaders have many allegedly false cases ranging from illegal possession of arms, rioting, cheating and fraud, thefts, possession of drugs and even murders lodged against them.
A huge number of functionaries and supporters of opposition parties — and not just the BJP — as well as the countless who have angered Banerjee are languishing in prison on charges of possession of drugs.
Tens of thousands of ‘ganja cases’ (as cases of possession of marijuana are commonly called in Bengal) have been overwhelming lower courts in the state.
As for the attacks on BJP workers and supporters, they have only become more brazen. Sunday (6 June) provided a gory and spine-chilling demonstration of this.
A BJP worker, Joy Prakash Yadav, had his head blown off in a bomb attack by alleged Trinamool goons at Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas on Sunday afternoon.
In fact, the Bengal Chief Minister has never condemned or offered condolences for the murders of the hundreds of BJP workers and supporters killed in the state by alleged Trinamool goons over the last three years.
Her silence on this count can only be construed as condoning such murders by her partymen. The deaths of four persons in firing by CAPF jawans on a murderous mob at Sitalkuchi in North Bengal on the day of polling there on 10 April was one rare case that evoked angry condemnation by Banerjee.
The victims then were Muslims who, as Banerjee has openly conceded many a time, form her valuable vote bank.
If left unchallenged, Banerjee may only feel emboldened to use her police more blatantly to target BJP leaders. In fact, the Bengal police will be used to not only register false cases against opposition leaders and functionaries, but also jail them.
It will come as no surprise if, in the very near future, police arrest Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP leaders on false charges.
And, of course, the state police will continue to not only look the other way on attacks on BJP workers by Trinamool goons.
The ghastly murder of the BJP worker at Bhatpara and subsequent attempts by the police to cover up the horrific crime only provides an inkling of the dark and dangerous days ahead for BJP workers in Bengal.
In order to prevent a complete subversion of democracy and a collapse of the party (BJP) organisational structure and support in Bengal, the Union government must intervene immediately.
Short of imposing President’s Rule which will only generate a lot of outrage across the country and sympathy and support for Banerjee, there are a number of measures that the Union government can take to restrain Banerjee and force her to act as per the law of the land in a fair and non-partisan manner.
The Union government needs to read the riot act to the Bengal Chief Minister. Union Home Minister Amit Shah should tell her in clear and unequivocal terms that she will be made to pay a very stiff and terrible price if killings of and attacks on BJP workers continue, and if false cases continue to be lodged against BJP leaders.
Banerjee must be made to understand that the price for exacting vengeance on opposition politicians and political workers, or her critics, will be huge.
The Centre’s threat of using strong measures against Banerjee and her party colleagues must be backed by determined action.
The BJP should carry out a 360-degree campaign highlighting political murders and violence, and the targeting of party leaders, in Bengal.
Banerjee is an aggressive politician, and aggression is the only language she understands. The BJP central leadership has to realise this and act with determination against her.
That’s the only way to tackle her and ensure she upholds the rule of the law in the state.
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