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The assault on Gopal Mazumdar’s mother is a reminder of the brutal Sainbari massacre, where a mother was force-fed the blood of her sons

On 27 February, TMC goons had allegedly barged into the residence of a BJP supporter named Gopal Mazumdar and had assaulted him and his elderly mother. The 85-year-old woman's bruised and battered face has been a silent testimony of the brutal political violence that has been going on in West Bengal.

Ahead of the upcoming West Bengal Legislative elections, a gruesome incident of political violence has shaken the conscience of the state. On Friday, a BJP worker and his aged mother were brutally thrashed allegedly by Trinamool Congress (TMC) goons.

The victim, identified as Gopal Mazumdar, and his 85-year-old mother were at their residence in Ward No.6 in Nimta in North DumDum city. The BJP worker recounted, “A total of 3 people barged into my house at around 1:30 am in the morning. First, they hurled the choicest of expletives at me and then inquired whether I am associated with the BJP. They then began assaulting us.” The accused men attacked him with the hood of a gun and pushed his mother, following which they sustained grave injuries to their head and face.

One of the locals said that the area has been terrorised by Trinamool Congress goons. He informed that prior to assaulting Gopal Mazumdar, they have targetted other BJP workers. “My son is a BJP worker and so they assaulted him. They thrashed him mercilessly,” the elderly mother of Gopal Mazumdar broke into tears as the reporter inquired about the incident. The plight of the bruised and battered woman sent shockwaves across the country and raised eyebrows about the increasing political violence in West Bengal.

Political violence and brutality by political goons have long been a part of Bengal politics. This barbaric practice of physically harming and eliminating active supporters of rival political parties began almost 50 years ago. And the horrific torture and murder of Congress supporters at the hands of CPI(M) goons (the Sainbari incident) on March 17, 1970, is a testimony to it.

The horrific murders at Sainbari by CPIM-led-mob

The Sain family, who lived in Burdwan during the 1970s, were well-known for their association with the Congress party. On March 17, a Communist party member by the name of Khokon Sen led a mob of his party workers to the ancestral house of the family. The Sains had been celebrating the ‘naming ceremony’ of a newly-born baby at their home. They had turned down threats and offers to join the CPIM, following the ouster of the second United Front government in West Bengal and the resignation of incumbent CM Ajay Kumar Mukherjee on March 16.

But the emerging Communist regime in the State was miffed. On that fateful day in 1970, hundreds of CPIM goons gathered outside the ancestral home of the Sains and began shooting arrows and pelting stones. They then barged into his house and committed one of the most horrific political murders that the state had witnessed until then. The CPIM mob attacked the eldest son Naba Kumar Sain and gouged out his eyes. They also killed his two brothers, namely, Pranab Kumar and Malay Kumar, in front of the victims’ mother Mrignayana Devi.

Even a private tutor by the name of Jiten Ray, who happened to be at Sainbari during the attack, was also hacked to death. The new-born child was thrown into the Puja fire (Havan) by the CPIM goons but was successfully rescued by the family members. His body still has burn marks from the incident. However, the barbaric attack did not stop there. In a horrendous act of violence, the mob force-fed rice to Mrignayana Devi, which was mixed with the blood of her two sons Pranab and Malay. They also rubbed the blood on her forehead.

The incident wreaked havoc on her mental health and she died 8 years later in 1978. The elder son, Naba Kumar Sain, whose eyes were gouged out during the attack, was killed by CPIM goons the following year. NSUI activist Gunamoni Roy, an eye witness to the attack, was killed before he could go and depose before Tarapada Roy Commission that was constituted to probe the murders. Although 83 CPIM workers were named in the FIR, including Khokon Sen and one CPIM leader Benoy Konar, the files miraculously went missing after CPIM came to power.

Kokhon Sen went on to change his name to ‘Nirupam Sen’ and became Industries Minister in the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led-government. Years later in 2011, Trinamool Congress dug up the old files and resumed the investigation in the case. Sen, who had led the violent mob, won the MLA seat from Bardhaman South Assembly constituency thrice in 1987, 2001, and 2006. He was also a member of the Central Committee of his party in 1998 and the CPIM politburo in 2008. He died on December 24, without facing any legal consequences for his crimes while the Sains still await justice.

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Dibakar Dutta
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