BJP, TMC pay homage to dead workers in grim reminder of Bengal political violence
Clashes were reported even on the day when tributes were being paid to victims of political violences.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 10:47 IST
A day after the Kolkata Police cited violation of social distancing norms during Covid-19 pandemic to stop a religious programme where the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state and central leaders were to pay homage to workers killed in political violence, leaders of both BJP and Trinamool Congress (TMC) held similar programmes in the districts throughout Thursday.
After he and other leaders had to leave the banks of the Hooghly river on Wednesday, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “Mamata Banerjee does not forget Friday rituals and Muharram. But she is always against the Hindus. Is it a crime to observe Hindu rituals in West Bengal?”
The picture changed on the occasion of Mahalaya on Thursday when millions of people across the state assembled at riverbanks to take part in Tarpan, a Vedic ritual Hindus hold to pay homage to their forefathers. Politicians followed them in the poll-bound state without any hindrance.
BJP state women’s wing president Agnimitra Paul led members of the Mahila Morcha in a ritual held on the banks of the Mahananda river in Siliguri. “I paid tribute to 112 party workers who have been killed by the TMC since 2011,” she said.
This did not go down well with the ruling party. Tourism minister Gautam Deb said, “This was a political Tarpan.”
At Bankura district in the western part of the state, deputy minister and local legislator Shyamal Santra took part in a ritual on the banks of Dwarakeswar river. BJP state vice-president Raju Banerjee offered prayers in waist-deep water in another part of the district.
“We paid homage to all TMC workers killed over the decades,” said Santra.
“They are killing our workers and offering Tarpan at the same time. People can see and understand everything,” said Banerjee.
While the rituals were on, allegations of violence continued to make news.
At Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar district, Ganesh Sarkar, a TMC worker was found murdered. Partha Pratim Roy, TMC district president, said, “BJP workers carried out the attack.”
Malati Rava Roy, BJP district president, dismissed the allegation. “The killing was the fallout of a family dispute. TMC is spreading misinformation. BJP has nothing to do with this,” she said.
Celebration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 70th birthday led to trouble at Patashpur in East Midnapore district.
A blood donation camp the BJP organised on the occasion was allegedly ransacked by TMC workers. Posters with Modi’s photographs were torn, alleged Ashis Das, a local BJP leader who organised the camp.
Kanishka Panda, TMC’s local unit president, denied the charge. “BJP workers ransacked their own camp to be in the news. Tearing posters is not part of TMC’s culture,” he said.