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How the ‘Liberal’ press is whitewashing Bengal’s post-election violence

Should we not be concerned about the lawlessness and violence plaguing Bengal because it is not "communal"? Should the families of BJP and CPM workers who were either injured or killed during this violence feel better that at least they weren't victims of "communal" violence?

In the violent aftermath of the 2021 Bengal elections, liberal publications have gone on the offensive in an effort to whitewash, and somehow even justify, the post-election violence that is taking place. Right on cue, two different write-ups have appeared in and The Wire. Both of these articles are similar in nature, as they both attempt to downplay the heinous violence in Bengal, labeling it as merely “party politics”.

Article in Scroll

The piece is titled, “Why BJP’s labelling of Bengal post-election violence as communal is misleading”, and this headline in itself reveals the issue. It plays into a narrative that perceives “communal” violence to be worse than any other sort of violence. This mentality is inherently flawed, and has no basis in morality, but is somehow ubiquitous in the un-elected ‘intellectual’ class of this country.

The article does not dispute the violence that took place, it only takes issue with the BJP allegedly characterizing the violence as “communal”. Think about that for a second. The article reads, “This is why the BJP’s labelling of the violence as communal is incorrect. People across communities have got attacked – not only Hindus, as the BJP claims. The only pattern is that by and large, the people getting attacked are from the opposition and the attackers from the Trinamool. The violence is political, not communal.

So the article admits that the post-election violence in Bengal is by and large being perpetrated by attackers from Trinamool Congress. However, that is not the primary thrust of the article, nor is it even emphasized upon. The article’s primary objective is to disprove the notion that post-election violence is “communal”. What exactly does this serve to achieve? Should we not be concerned about the lawlessness and violence plaguing Bengal because it is not “communal”? Should the families of BJP, CPI(M), and Congress workers who were either injured or killed during this violence feel better that at least they weren’t victims of “communal” violence? This is an absurdist idea of morality, which has nothing to do with religious principles or natural law.

Not just morally, this view of violence is also totally incompatible with the law. If according to these liberal intellectuals, “communal” violence is objectively worse than other kinds of violence, and if they push these views through the help of the mainstream press, then they are creating a parallel morality which might even justify violence in some cases. This is exactly how Left-wing Anarchists like Antifa have cropped up in the U.S. They believe themselves to be vigilantes, using appropriate force or violence in order to create destruction, which they believe helps them achieve their goals. Just a few days ago, a Left-wing Antifa radical was convicted to four years in jail for burning a U.S. police station. This type of Antifa vigilantism is not only totally amoral but also contrary to the law.

The piece is also hilarious in some other ways. It places huge importance on the role of party affiliation in Bengali society, but almost flippantly dismisses caste and religion as having any effect. The article unironically argues that party politics and political identity, which permeated through Bengali society in 1977, is more important to the Bengali people than their religion and caste which has been interwoven into their identity for over 1000 years. However, that is an analysis for another day.

The Wire piece, on the other hand, does meet the lowest possible expectation of at least nominally criticizing Mamata Banerjee, placing the blame for the violence and lawlessness at her feet. However, this op-ed does so whilst giving overt praise to the three-time CM, calling her a “formidable fighter”, who has just “defeated the politics of hate”, at the same time when TMC cadres are attacking and murdering BJP, CPI(M), and Congress workers.

This white-washing of political violence in Bengal by the liberal press doesn’t stop here. On Tuesday, the much-championed liberal network NDTV platformed Professor Ananya Chakraborty, as a “Political Analyst”, presumably someone who is supposed to be objective and non-biased. That was unfortunately not the case, as the Professor bizarrely claimed that political violence in Bengal has “never happened before”, a claim which is obviously untrue.

The truth is, neither the mainstream media nor the intellectual class care for the Bengali people. The mainstream press and the intellectual class are ideological brethren who care more about certain types of violence than others. To these ideological drones, the life of a Dalit man attacked by a Muslim mob will have far less value than a Dalit person attacked by an upper-caste Hindu mob.

Is it a surprise that whilst the Indian media, especially the Liberal media, has a large section of Bengali representation, the largest anti-Dalit pogrom in the history of India, conducted by the Communist government of Jyoti Basu, has largely been forgotten? These crusaders for Dalits and other marginalized groups can’t even recall the Marichjhapi massacre because it was committed by a godless, secular, communist regime, not by the “forces of Hindutva”. Was the Marichjhapi massacre somehow better, because it was not “communal” violence, just “communist” violence? Maybe we need another Scroll article to clear this up.

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