Ever since pre-colonial times, West Bengal has been the hub of all things cultural, artistic, and musical. It’s the land of Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Satyajit Ray. A land of people who are generally known to be gentle, soft-spoken ‘Bhadraloks’ with a special liking for ‘Rosogolla’ and ‘Rabindra Sangeet’.
Though aestheticism has been an integral part of Bengal, the state has as much been a hotbed of political violence. In fact, violence has been such an intrinsic part of Bengal that a subaltern version of the history of Bengal can be written through the kind of violence the people of Bengal have witnessed so far.
Political violence has invariably relapsed in Bengal every two decades but over the last decade, political violence has taken a new shape here. The poll-related violence in West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee does not seem to abate.
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Bhartiya Janta Party created history in West Bengal. It made successful inroads by securing 18 out of 42 seats in Mamata’s Bengal. This success has, however, not come easily for the party. Innumerable BJP Karyakarta’s have given their lives to make BJP’s surge possible.
Trinamool Congress goons under Mamata Banerjee’s realm have carried out targeted killings of the ground-level workers, mostly students, teachers, labourers, farmers, agricultural workers and small shopkeepers and this time the brunt of most of the ire was borne by BJP workers in Bengal as they were standing as the biggest threat to Mamata government.
Dozens of BJP workers and leaders have been brutally attacked or killed before and during the election seasons in Bengal. This is an attempt to remember some of the incidents of brutal violence done under an authoritarian regime in Bengal.
In another separate incident, two BJP workers, Ananta Guchait and Ranjit Maity, were shot at in Bhagabanpur of East Medinipur.
Similarly, a BJP worker in Bankura was severely injured with multiple injuries on his head and body after bricks were hurled at him by TMC goons.
A BJP worker named Prashant Sharma was brutally beaten up by some unidentified people in Frasor Road during phase 5 of the Lok Sabha elections.
He was bleeding profusely when he was rushed to the local hospital. pic.twitter.com/r7eNi4cAqm
— DNA (@dna) May 6, 2019
Similarly, BJP candidate from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, was reportedly attacked by goons associated with the Trinamool Congress. BJP District President in Hooghly, Pranab Mondal Saha, had alleged that he was thrashed by Trinamool goons while he was on his way to meet a fellow member of the party Khokon Biswas.
The 22-year-old BJP Youth Wing worker, son of a BJP member of the local gram panchayat, was killed in West Bengal’s Purulia district. His body was found hanging from a tree at Senabona village in Purulia on April 18, 2019.
In the month of March, Patanu Mondal (28), a BJP worker was shot dead inside his house as he was deep in sleep with his wife and eight-month-old daughter when a few men entered the house and opened fire.
In another case of political intolerance, a BJP worker Apurba Chakraborty was brutally beaten up by TMC goons in Islampur, West Bengal. Apurba Chakraborty was returning from a wedding ceremony of his relative in Gulshan area of Islampur ps when he was assaulted by TMC goons assaulted. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
Shaktipada Sardar, a local BJP leader from Mandir Bazar in South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal had been brutally hacked to death last year in July. According to reports, the 45-year-old Sardar was attacked with sharp weapons while returning from work and was left bleeding in a critical condition.
In another case of chilling political violence in the state of West Bengal, a 32-year-old BJP worker identified as Dulal Kumar was found hanging from a high tension electric pole. This incident had been reported from Dabha village in the Balrampur region of state’s Purulia district. Following this incident, the Bengal BJP pinned the blame on TMC goons, whom it accused of executing the order of Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
Similarly, in May last year, a young BJP worker named Trilochan Mahato was found hanging from a tree in the jungle near the village of Balarampur. According to BJP, Mahato was dragged out of his house by masked goons. They had also alleged that he had been murdered because of his active participation in West Bengal Panchayat elections that were marred by rampant violence, rigging, booth capturing, ballot box capturing and intimidation of voters.
Exactly a month after Dulal Kumar and Trilochan Mahato found dead in West Bengal’s Purulia district, the body of another BJP party worker was found floating in a lake in Murshidabad district. Dharmaraj Hazra, 54 years old, was found dead in a lake with his hands and feet tied with a rope. His body was recovered from the lake in Shaktipur village.
Taking acts of savagery to a whole new level, the TMC goons had reportedly raped a pregnant relative of a BJP candidate. In another incident, a BJP supporter was publicly and brutally thrashed by a TMC Minister.
In fact, due to several such incidences of savagery by the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state, there were reports of BJP leaders fleeing West Bengal. There were reports that the state unit of the BJP in Jharkhand has provided shelter to at least 80 members of the party who were allegedly evicted from their villages by the TMC.
Political violence has been a harsh reality in Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal. The Panchayat elections and now the Lok Sabha elections in the state were riddled with extreme violence and numerous cases of murder. The gruesome and blood-curdling savagery carried out by TMC cadres is no less violent than the crimes of a terrorist organisation. While these few incidents like the ones mentioned above have been noticed, there are several other incidents which have not found its place in the media space.
Mamata Banerjee and her goons have tried everything possible to stop BJP making inroads in Bengal. However, the sacrifices made by these ground-level workers, who stood by their leadership like rocks, have paid off as BJP won 18 seats, touching an impressive double figure in Bengal for the first time.