More than 600 academicians have signed a letter condemning the post-poll violence in West Bengal following the victory of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress Party in the recently concluded assembly elections. The signatories to the letter, which include eminent professors, vice-chancellors, directors, deans and former vice-chancellors, have cautioned the TMC government in the state to not play with constitutional norms and protocols while unleashing a reign of terror against political opponents and people who did not vote for them.
The academicians have urged the TMC government to stop the politics of vendetta in West Bengal. The letter states that criminal elements affiliated with the Trinamool Congress Party had attacked people in villages and town that did not subscribe to their political worldview. Properties of thousand of people were ransacked and looted in the wake of the violence that erupted in the state following the declaration of the assembly elections.
The letter further said that a large section of Bengali society continues to live under a constant threat of fear as those who voted against the TMC are victimised by the supporters of the ruling party. Thousands of people had to migrate to the neighbouring states of Assam, Orissa and Jharkhand due to the fear of being persecuted, raped or killed at the hands of the TMC hooligans. The police, local administration, civil society and media are either hand in gloves with the perpetrators or are silent, fearing the wrath of the state government, the letter said.
The signatories have expressed concerns for the people in Bengal, who had to face the wrath of the ruling party for exercising their democratic right to free and fair voting. “We are concerned about the weaker sections of the society who are being harassed by the government on account of exercising their right as citizens of India,” the letter added.
Among those who issued the statement include Prof. Prakash Singh, University of Delhi, Prof. Govardhan Das, JNU, Dr JSP Pandey, Lucknow University, Prof. Jaya Kumar, Central University of Kerala, Prof. Gopal Reddy – Osmania University, Hyderabad, including more than 600 professors and scholars. The list includes famous professor, vice-chancellor, director, dean and former VC.
The academicians have also cautioned that the incidents of violence perpetrated in Bengal have the potential of spreading to other parts of the country. They cited the lynching of Mewalal, a member of the Mahadalit community, burning of 12 houses and trashing many others by anti-social elements in the Purnea district of Bihar, to allege that such incidents cannot be seen in isolation as they have occurred in the adjoining areas of Bengal.
A Supreme Court appointed SIT probe is demanded by the academicians in their letter. Besides, they have also asked independent agencies to investigate the post-poll violence in West Bengal.
Post-Poll violence in West Bengal
Post-poll violence has become a leitmotif of news emerging out of Bengal following the declaration of results. Umpteen number of violence against political opponents have been reported from the state. In an overwhelming number of such incidents, the victims have been BJP supporters and workers while the accused were said to be the supporters of the TMC party. More than a dozen BJP workers have lost their lives in the post-poll violence that ensued following the victory of the TMC party in the assembly elections.
The violence unleashed against them forced hundreds of BJP party workers and supporters to flee their villages along with their families. They crossed over to Assam where they have been provided temporary shelter under the supervision of minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. It is not just the BJP but even CPI(M) which has accused the TMC of killing its workers. Reports of attacks on BSF jawans have also emerged in the media.