Stop Normalising Political Terrorism In West Bengal
BJP MP from Darjeeling, Raju Bista, writes that political violence in Bengal will not end until those who indulge in such acts are dealt with in the same way as terrorists.
When my name was announced as the candidate from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal, I still remember the first few calls I received from my family and close friends.
I found it peculiar that most who called first congratulated me and cautioned me immediately after. ‘We are so happy, you will be contesting from the Darjeeling, but please be careful, it is Bengal after all’ said my childhood friend.
‘You will need bodyguards, it’s very dangerous going against the ruling party in Bengal,’ a well-meaning party senior suggested.
In almost every call I received, I remember being cautioned about the ‘culture of political violence’ in the state.
Having worked cross the length and breadth of India, including in some of the remotest villages across the Northeast and North Bengal, I thought, I would be able to handle whatever is thrown at me, without feeling the need for a ‘bodyguard’.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the state of West Bengal, no one is safe other than those who are associated with the Trinamool Congress.
General public live in the fear of those in power, opposition party cadres are murdered with impunity, and even elected people’s representatives are not safe if they belong to the Opposition.
In the past few years, over 150 BJP karyakartas have been murdered by TMC goons, including the Hemtabad BJP MLA; not one of the murderers have been brought to justice.
In 2017, West Bengal police shot dead 11 Gorkha youths, not a single inquiry has been conducted to ascertain the need for firing upon unarmed civilians who were demonstrating peacefully.
As recently as 7 December 2020, West Bengal police fired upon a BJP rally in Siliguri and killed Ulen Roy, one of our karyakartas; and in the past 24-hours alone, close to 10 BJP karyakartas have been murdered, those who volunteered for BJP raped, their homes burned down and their businesses looted.
Today, everyone is witnessing the sheer terrorism unleashed by TMC-affiliated goons across the state, and yet, many are trying to cover for and justify the violence.
Defending the violence, one individual , “This sudden propaganda about “violence against BJP” in West Bengal & a “nationwide dharna” less than 24 hrs after election results is a Modi-Shah ploy for finding a reason to impose President’s Rule.."
This even as we are getting reports of our Purbasthali Uttar candidate Dr. Gobardhan Das's house being attacked. He is an eminent molecular scientist from the Jawarhalal Nehru University.
In Cooch Behar, Haradhan Roy and Manik Maitra were murdered.
In Chopra local markets of Daspara, Majhiali, and Chopra town were ransacked and houses of BJP supporters burned down.
A few days ago, our BJP karyakarta Rahman from Chopra was attacked by bombs and bullets in which Rahman, his sister-in-laws Rebecca Khatun and Nuresa Khatun and his grandfather Tamizuddin Rahman have been grievously injured.
Goons of TMC attempted to murder our BJYM Siliguri Organizing District General Secretary Sourav Basu and two of our youth activists.
In Darjeeling, goons belonging to a party backed by TMC terrorized Lebong Golai Gaon and Bada Ging.
In Nabagram, Kakali Khetrapal, a mother of BJP worker was hacked to death.
Similar attacks have been perpetrated against BJP karyakartas in Alipurduars and Cooch Behar where BJP has won most seats.
The violence is not confined to targeting BJP karyakartas alone, all those who opposed TMC, including cadres of Left and Congress who supported the TMC tactically, are today bearing the brunt of this rampant violence unleashed by TMC in the state.
To be blind is one thing, but to be wilfully blind and try to whitewash TMC's crime against democracy and our constitution takes a special training in hypocrisy.
In 2019, immediately after my elections, I was on my way to address a meeting in Singla, Darjeeling when my convoy was blocked and we came under attack from TMC affiliated goons. Later that year, I was again while on my way to Sinji in Kalimpong. Luckily for me, I survived the attack.
In a democracy, people have a right to elect their government and by extension also the opposition to keep an eye on the government.
With a vote share of 39.1 per cent, over 2.27 crore people have voted for BJP across the state, and we have 18 MPs and 77 MLAs. These people too are part of West Bengal and have the same rights guaranteed by the Constitution of our great nation as those who voted for TMC.
Yet, TMC is hell-bent on punishing those who voted for BJP, and by keeping silent on these actions of rape, murder and mayhem unleashed by her goons, TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee is providing a tactical support to their acts of violence.
I fear that if she doesn't reign in those spreading the violence soon, she may altogether lose her grip and control over these antisocial elements in her party.
What’s happening in West Bengal doesn’t happen anywhere else in India. How many opposition leaders and supporters have been murdered in Assam after the results were declared, right next door to West Bengal?
We have allowed this situation in Bengal to go from bad to worse, by remaining mute and by trying to normalise the killing and violence associated with politics in Bengal.
If we are to put an end to it, we will need to call it for what it is—‘Political Terrorism’ and deal with those who indulge in such acts in the same way we deal with terrorists.
Unless we do that, this spree of rape, murder, and mayhem will continue unabated.
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