The Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) has submitted a report on the post-poll violence in West Bengal where they have documented the concerted campaign against opposition party workers by the cadres of the Trinamool Congress.
The report has been authored by Monika Arora, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court, Prof. Vijita Singh Aggarwal, Professor, GGS IPU, Ms. Sonali Chitalkar, Assistant Professor, Delhi University, Dr. Shruti Mishra, Assistant Professor, Delhi University and Ms. Monicca Agarwaal, Entrepreneur.
In the report, the GIA states that the victims primarily belong to the very marginal sections of Hindu society which have voted for the BJP in the assembly elections. The report says, “The main modus operandi of the TMC is to debilitate political opponents by targeting their bodies, economic resources and their psychological wellbeing. This involves physical and sexual attacks, destruction of living spaces, property and means of production however small they are.”
“Thus shops will be taken over and released back only after payment of a hefty amount to the local TMC cadre. This brings the political opponents to their knees. Almost all our respondents mentioned having to pay up large amounts of extortion money to TMC after the election results came out,” it adds.
The report adds further, “Women have been singled out for most horrific terror and intimidation. Our data reveals many incidents of grievous bodily harm, threat of rape, stripping and sexual violence. The streets were sites of dehumanization of women of all ages. The horror is compounded by most of the victims being from marginal SC-ST communities or from Below Poverty Line (BPL) and extremely fragile economic sections in West Bengal.”
The report documents several instances of sexual assault on women by TMC cadres due to political motivations.
According to the report, victims say that their Ration cards and Aadhar cards have been stolen by the TMC cadres, landing them in a severe crisis. Children were exposed to the severe violence as well. It also says that state machinery was employed to target political opponents.
Recommendations on West Bengal post-poll violence
The report recommends an SIT investigation into the post-poll violence in West Bengal as well as an NIA investigation as the violence could very well have a cross border angle. It also recommends compensation for the victims and fast tracks for speed justice.
The report suggests action against police officers as well who failed to perform their constitutional duties. It also recommends inquiries by the National Commission for Human Rights, National Commission for Protection of Children, National Commission for women, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.