The political situation in West Bengal has been in the gutters for quite some time. The law and order situation has been deteriorating with every passing day and political violence has been rampant ever since Hindutva started making headway in the state. And the violence that began during the first term of Narendra Modi has reached a point where a sitting BJP MLA in West Bengal, Debendra Nath Roy, was found hanging in public on Monday.
According to reports, Debendra Nath Roy was missing from Sunday night. The family of the deceased has called it murder and the BJP is making the same allegations against the Trinamool government. Given the recent spree of violence, it will certainly not be surprising if TMC functionaries are found responsible for the alleged murder.
Debendra Nath Roy was an elected representative from the Uttar Dinajpur Assembly Constituency. Formerly, he was a member of the CPI(M) and had won the party ticket three consecutive times. 50 councillors had joined the BJP along with him in May last year. The West Bengal police now claim to have recovered a suicide note from the shirt of the deceased.
According to the police, the suicide note blames two individuals for suicide but they have not been named. A post mortem is yet to be conducted, however, people were requested “not to jump on speculative, biased and judgmental conclusions and to wait for the investigation to complete.”
Despite the advice of the West Bengal Police, it is hard to not to wonder if the BJP MLA was murdered for political reasons. Given the history of political violence in the state, it is only natural that people fear the worst when they come to know of such horrible incidents. For far too long, political violence has been an unfortunate reality in the state.
During the communist era, dissidents were persecuted and some even unfortunately lost their lives. Who could ever forget the Sainbari incident when communists made a mother eat rice mixed with her son’s blood? Who could ever forget the Bijon Setu Massacre where 17 monks of the Ananda Marga were lynched to death and set on fire in broad daylight? But no one was ever made to face the consequences for their crimes.
The truth of the matter is, the culture of political violence that was ushered in by Communists during their rule has been carried forward with equal fervour by the Trinamool Congress under Mamata Banerjee. In recent years, there have been too many incidents where BJP karyakartas have been found murdered or hanging.
Before Debendra Nath Roy, there was Shakuntala Haldar. Before her, there was Bandhu Prakash Pal, his pregnant wife and six-year old son. Before them, there was Trilochan Mahato. In between, there have been many others, far too many to count. And yet, national media has chosen to ignore the orgy of violence underway in West Bengal and it feigns ign orance only because it violates their political bias.
But even by West Bengal’s violent standards and the historical prevalence of extraordinary levels of political violence in the state and the recent orgy of violence, the murder of a sitting MLA is quite unprecedented. A certain limit has been crossed here, a boundary has been breached. It now appears that under the rising tide of political violence under Mamata Banerjee, no one is safe.
At this point in time, one can only speculate when the poison of political violence in West Bengal will dissipate. However, it does not appear that it will be anytime soon. With Assembly elections scheduled for next year, political violence is only expected to escalate to levels unheard of in decades. Every time a political worker is murdered, democracy dies a little.
And right now, the only thing that keeps democracy alive in West Bengal is the unwavering faith of the people of Bengal who believe resolutely that the future will be better than what has been before; that the Sun will shine a little brighter than it did this morning; that they will breathe a little freer tomorrow than they do now. Whether such a moment comes to pass or not is still unclear, but one thing is for certain, men and women such as Debendra Nath Roy and Shakuntala Haldar will not be here with us to experience such delights should it ever dawn in the near future.