BJP intensifies campaign on post-poll violence in Bengal after man’s murder
Violence by Trinamool Congress (TMC) after the West Bengal assembly polls continues unabated, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged on Sunday afternoon after Jaiprakash Yadav, a labourer, was killed by a crude bomb in the Jagaddal area of North 24 Parganas district.
The BJP alleged that with Yadav’s death, the number of party workers killed since the announcement of poll results on May 2 touched 27. The party has been carrying out a relentless campaign not just in Bengal but other states as well. On Sunday, the issue was discussed at a meeting held at the Delhi residence of BJP national president JP Nadda.
Claiming that Yadav was a BJP supporter, Arjun Singh, the party’s Lok Sabha MP from the district’s Barrackpore constituency, said, “TMC has unleashed terror in the district and other parts of Bengal. I have informed the governor,” said the former TMC leader who joined the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He also virtually attended the meeting held by Nadda.
Local police officers said Yadav’s murder took place hours after a raid was conducted to nab known criminals and three firearms were seized. “We have started a probe,” an officer from the local police station said on condition of anonymity.
Somnath Shyam, TMC legislator from Jagaddal said, “The incident has nothing to do with politics. It is the fallout of the BJP’s internal feud. Local people said Yadav’s killer lost his arm in the explosion. Police are conducting raids.”
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar accused the administration of inaction and asked the chief secretary to meet him on Monday.
“Extremely alarming law & order scenario @MamataOfficial. Security environment is seriously compromised. In such a grim situation called upon Chief Secretary to brief me on the law and order situation on Monday 7th June and indicate all steps taken to contain post poll violence,” tweeted Dhankhar.
“There is rampant post poll retributive violence @MamataOfficial. Disturbing that this ostracisation has graduated to social boycott & denial of benefits they are otherwise entitled. They are made to suffer “extortion fee” for living in their own house or run their own business,” Dhankhar wrote in a second tweet, referring to an alleged incident of social boycott of 18 people by the TMC at Mahishda in West Midnapore.
A host of national leaders of the BJP, including Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, targeted Bengal’s ruling party on this issue on Saturday. While the TMC alleged that the list circulated on social media was fake the local police registered a case of rumour-mongering.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh, who was made a state general secretary by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, said, “The governor feels unwell if he does not write tweets against the state government. He is an agent of the BJP. Before the polls, he called for a change in the government. No governor can do that.”
In the recent polls, the TMC bagged 213 of the state’s 294 seats while the BJP could wrest only 77.
“It is the governor’s job to look after the welfare of citizens. He can always summon the chief secretary and ask why BJP workers are being targeted. These incidents are sending a message to people across the nation,” said BJP state vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar.
To make the alleged violence a political issue across India, leader of the opposition in the Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, has held virtual meetings with BJP leaders across several states.
On June 2, more than 600 academicians from several states signed a joint statement against the alleged post-poll violence in Bengal. They appealed to the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Women to conduct probes.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear some petitions seeking a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged violence.
On May 24, as many as 146 retired public servants, including former judges, bureaucrats, ambassadors and police and army officers wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking an SIT headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “If the Hathras incident in Uttar Pradesh can become national news and prompt opposition parties to target the BJP, why should not the violence in Bengal be discussed by people across the nation? Ten people were killed between May 2 and May 5, the day Mamata Banerjee took the oath as chief minister. After that, 27 more were murdered.”
Bhattacharya alleged that many women were raped or molested but nobody dared to file a police complaint either fearing social ostracism or because of threats.
TMC Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy said the BJP is carrying out a malicious campaign. “There is no such widespread violence,” he said.
Police investigation into some of the alleged murders has pointed at death by suicide. Days after taking the oath, Banerjee said 16 people were killed in post-poll violence and half of the victims were TMC workers.