West Bengal has been a hotbed for political violence and almost 82 BJP workers in the last six years have fallen prey to the ruling Trinamool Congress’ wrath. Now, West Bengal BJP has decided to organise a ‘Pind Daan’ for the salvation of these karyakartas. The state unit has invited Home Minister Amit Shah and party working president J.P. Nadda to the ceremony.
The state unit has decided to conduct the pind daan (a Hindu ritual to appease departed souls) in the Ganga in Kolkata on 28 September. Pind daan is an important Hindu ritual organised to bring salvation to departed souls. The ideal time for pind daan is during Shraddh. On the occasion of Mahalaya, Hindus perform this traditional ritual of ‘tarpan’ or ‘pind daan,’ which as per ancient texts help the dead souls attain moksha (salvation).
The state BJP president Dilip Ghosh and senior BJP leader Mukul Roy had met the Home Minister last week to invite him to the event. “We have requested Amit Shahji to be present in a condolence event (tarpan) at the Ganga Ghat for nearly 80 BJP workers killed in Bengal since 2013,” Ghosh said and added, “He said he will certainly try.”
Senior BJP leader of the Bengal unit, Pratap Banerjee, said the party had begun preparations for the event. “We will bring mitti (soil) from 82 villages of the martyrs that will be immersed (pravahit) in the holy Ganga so that the souls of these workers rest in peace,” he said. “Family members of the deceased workers have also been invited for this Pind Daan. BJP workers will start collecting mitti from these villages starting this week,” confirmed Banerjee.
For decades now, political violence has been an integral part of West Bengal and there has been a history of an unseemly spike whenever a settled political regime is put under pressure by a resurgent opposition. When Mamata Banerjee came to power, overthrowing the incumbent Left Front government similar scenes of violence played out in the state. TMC was then in the ascendant, the ruling Left was unyielding and unforgiving, and violence spawned more violence.
The Nandigram and Singur violence is an importunate example of the incidents of political violence then. Mamata and her political party had widely used this issue along with the political war cry Ma Mati Manush in their election campaigns. In fact, she on the occasion of Nandigram Divas in 2017 had called the incident “violent politics of the CPI(M).”
When Mamata came to power in the 2011 assembly elections, ending 34 years of Left rule, her success was predicated on winning a large number of Left cadres over to her side. Now, as the BJP mounts a challenge to Mamata’s rule by weaning away a number of those cadres to their side, Mamata has been left completely off-balance. Mamata led TMC has not been able to assimilate this glissade and has been unleashing atrocities on BJP karyakartas in Bengal.
Ever since BJP made successful inroads into the state, sporadic incidents of political violence and vandalism have been reported both pre and post the election seasons.
With the latest murder of the BJP worker named Dalu Sheikh in West Bengal’s Birbhum at the hands of TMC goons, BJP has claimed the total number of its workers in Bengal to have buckled under Mamata’s pressure has gone up to 82.