In Bengal, intellectuals visit trouble-torn Bhatpara; blame both BJP, TMC
The delegation that also consisted of actor-director Kaushik Sen and theatre personality Chandan Sen said they will submit deputations to the governor and chief minister of Bengal.Updated: Jun 27, 2019 22:06 IST
A group of prominent Bengali intellectuals, who visited Bhatpara on Thursday, blamed both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the trouble in the area, claiming that the violence for the past few weeks was a result of the turf fight between the two rival camps.
“People are suffering due to a battle between the two political parties. Houses remain vandalized. People have fled from their homes. Even the police are scared,” said veteran actor-director Aparna Sen, who visited the area, and spoke to many locals and visited their homes.
The delegation that also consisted of actor-director Kaushik Sen and theatre personality Chandan Sen said they will submit deputations to the governor and chief minister of Bengal.
However, Sen also admitted that the situation has improved after Manoj Verma took charge as the Commissioner of Barrackpore Police (on June 20).
“We spoke to many people, who blamed both TMC and BJP. People also said that the situation has improved after Manoj Verma took charge. Verma told us that more CCTV cameras are being installed in the streets and existing CCTV cameras will be elevated to a higher level so that these cannot be damaged,” added Sen.
Bhatpara has been in the grip of frequent clashes between groups of BJP and TMC supporters since the Lok Sabha elections. Two persons lost their lives and five were injured allegedly in police firing on June 20.
After touring the area, the members said it appeared that locals were concealing many things due to fear of reprisal.
The visit of the intellectuals followed a BJP parliamentary delegation led by S S Ahluwalia, a senior BJP leader and MP from Bengal, on June 22 and a joint delegation of the Left and the Congress, on June 25. Legislators of the ruling TMC will visit Bhatpara on Friday.
“Houses have been vandalized, looted, shops robbed and forcibly occupied. It will take months for the situation to improve,” Kaushik Sen added.
Reacting to Aparna Sen’s comments, BJP national executive member Mukul Roy said that he wanted her and others to visit other areas of the state where BJP workers are facing violence unleashed by TMC.
“Before blaming both (TMC and BJP), Sen and others should keep in mind the people’s verdict. Barely a month ago, the people in Bhatpara overwhelmingly voted for BJP,” Roy said.
Tension gripped Bhatpara soon after its four-time MLA, TMC’s Arjun Singh switched camps and joined BJP in mid-March and got the party’s ticket to contest the Lok Sabha election against TMC veteran Dinesh Trivedi.
Tension increased after Singh defeated Trivedi by about 13,000 votes. The situation turned further against the TMC as Arjun Singh’s son, Pawan, got elected in the Bhatpara Assembly by-election.
In the following weeks, a number of grassroot-level TMC organizers, municipal councillors and rural body representatives joined the BJP, while frequent clashes continued.
Two MLAs whose constituencies (Bijpur and Garulia) are part of the Barrackpore Lok Sabha joined the BJP in June.
First Published: Jun 27, 2019 22:06 IST