Children, the new target of poll-related violence in West Bengal

  • Bibhas Bhattacharyya and Sukumar Debnath, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: May 05, 2016 10:22 IST
At least four children, aged between three to nine years, were thrashed and tortured by toughs allegedly backed by the ruling Trinamool Congress in the five of the six-phase Bengal elections that have taken place so far. (PTI file photo)

Elections and blood letting always go hand in hand in Bengal. For years toughs political parties have backed toughs who have beat up adults till bones cracked, blood flowed and organs maimed. In the 2016 assembly elections a new soft target has emerged -- children.

At least four children, aged between three and a half to nine years were thrashed and tortured by toughs allegedly backed by the ruling Trinamool Congress in the five of the six-phase Bengal elections that have taken place so far.

The first incidence took place in Halisahar in North 24 Parganas district. On April 24, a day before the district went to polls a girl of three years and a half was beaten by local toughs who stormed her house to prevent her parents from going out to cast their vote.

The parents were known as CPI-M supporters and the toughs turned to the kid after beating up her parents.

Another incidence took place at Darirchak of Haridebpur in South 24 Parganas district. On the night of April 30, after polling was over in the district, a group of hoodlums allegedly backed by the ruling party raided their house and beat up a eight-year old girl apart from thrashing her parents. The girl was injured in the head.

To tackle the outcry that followed, Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee visited their residence to placate the family. But the parents of the girl did not let him step inside the house.

Poll officials carry electronic voting machines as they leave for their respective polling booths at Bolpur in Birbhum district of West Bengal. (PTI file photo)

Condemnation came thick and fast from the opposition.

“A child forms the weakest spot of its parents, and in order to intimidate the adults, the criminals are stooping so low that they are attacking children. It will continue until the administration takes the stern action against the culprits,” said Shyamal Chakraborty, CPI(M) central committee member.

On Tuesday, leader of the opposition Suryakanta Mishra expressed his concern at the growing attacks on children. “Nothing can be more brutal,” remarked Mishra.

“All sections of society need to protest strongly to stop it immediately,” said Dilip Ghosh, the president of state BJP.

The brutality reached its nadir on April 26 (a day after the polls in the district) in Hariharpur of North 24 Parganas, where a nine–year old boy was beaten up allegedly by the ruling party supporters after he made a kite out of ruling party poster. According to the police complaint the boy was gagged, thrashed and left in a bush with his limbs tied up.

In front of TV cameras the boy alleged that before beating him up, the toughs labelled him as the son of a CPI(M) supporter.

The latest attack was recorded at Ramchandrapur of Bishnupur in South 24 Parganas on May 2 morning when a four-year-old girl was beaten up along with his grandfather at their residence.

“I always condemn attacks on children but at the same time let me tell you that the incident in Bishnupur was entirely a family feud and it was not related to politics,” Sovan Chatterjee told HT.

“It is a dangerous trend. Out of sheer frustration the Trinamool-backed hooligans are now indulging in it. Until the people and all political parties protest against it together, it will be continue,” said Rahul Sinha, the BJP’s national secretary.

Left and Congress parties are jointly fighting against TMC in West Bengal Assembly election. (HT file photo)


April 24, Halisahar, North 24 Parganas

A three and a half-year-old girl was targetted.

Her crime: Parents were CPI-M supporters

April 26, Hariharpur, South 24 Parganas

A nine-year-old boy made a kite from a poster of Trinamool Congress and was a political victim

April 30, Haridebpur, South 24 Parganas

An right-year-old girl was the next victim, her family is known as CPI-M supporter.

May 2, Ramchandrapur, South 24 Parganas

Again, a four-year-old girl was targetted. Her only crime: Her family is known as CPI-M supporter

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