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Friday, March 31, 2023

Calling BJP “Dangabaaj”, TMC overlooks the communal violence in Mamata Banerjee’s rule

Struggling to woo the people of Bengal with her blank report card, the Trinamool Congress supremo has little beyond abusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and its leaders while addressing election rallies. In such rallies and public meetings, Mamata Banerjee routinely accuses the BJP of being a dangabaaj (meaning a riot-mongering) party. 

Alleging that the Dangabaaj machinery of the BJP crafts riots in the states they have formed governments in, and has created a divide between the two major communities, Banerjee makes tall claims of communal amity in West Bengal in her reign. She stresses the absolute religious harmony, total camaraderie between Muslims and Hindus, and absence of communal violence under her dispensation.

Like most election rally speeches, her claim of a riot-less West Bengal, steeped in religious harmony, unfortunately, is hollow and fraudulent. Mamata Banerjee’s decade-long rule in West Bengal has seen some of the most turbulent times in the last 30-40 years.

The worn-out Veneer of Mamata Banerjee’s ‘Secularism’

Soon after dethroning CPM in West Bengal, Mamata adopted a policy of extreme appeasement of Muslim ‘minority’, often at the cost of working against Hindu wellbeing. Urdufication of the Bengali language by changing words like Ramdhanu to RongdhanuAkashi to Aasmani were just a few peculiarities, to begin with. Saraswati Pooja celebration in government schools in the state, which even the Communists didn’t object to, had come under her radar.

Durga Pooja rituals like the immersion of the Goddess on Dashami were halted to make way for Muharram processions. She announced allowances to Muslim clerics from government funds, a decision that was challenged in the High Court and adjudged unconstitutional. It was observed that her government had allotted more money to Madrassas than it had reserved for Higher Education.

With such instances, the dissatisfaction among the Hindu voters had been on a constant rise. The TMC Supremo’s statement, “Will endure kicks of the cow that gives milk,” brought the whole sham of secularism down as she had acknowledged that the Muslim demography to her was a milking cow, i.e. vote-giving instrument, and hence she would do whatever it took to appease Muslim clerics and fundamentalists who exercise a vice-like grip on the community. 

Snapshot of unrest in 10 years of TMC

From 2011 onwards, the state has witnessed at least 20 incidents of communal violence on average each year, of varying intensities. It recorded 27 such incidents in 2015 claiming 5 lives leaving 84 injured. In the election year of 2016, there were 32 recorded incidents of communal violence. There were 58 incidents of communal violence in 2017, shortly after TMC won a second term, with 9 killed and 230 injured.

The Muslim population in West Bengal was 27% as per Census 2011, but is suspected to be significantly higher as millions of illegal Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants have flooded in to the state. So powerful is the Islamist lobby in the state that many ordinary Hindus had almost got habituated to their 2nd-class status, before Hindu groups like Hindu Samhati awakened them to resist.  

Major anti-Hindu pogroms / communal violence in Mamata Banerjee’s rule

2013, Canning: A deadly anti-Hindu pogrom broke out on 21 February, 2013 after a Muslim cleric was killed during a robbery. Angry at alleged police apathy, Muslim mobs decided to vent their ire on Hindus. Over 200 Hindu homes in Gopalpur, Goladogra, Naliakhali and Hero Bhanga villages in Canning police station area were burnt down, displacing around 2000 Hindus. Around 24 Hindu-owned Shops were looted in the Jayanagar police station area. 

2015, Nadia: A Hindu group returning from a religious mela was attacked with petrol bombs and other explosives while passing by a mosque in Juranpur village on May 5th, 2015. 4 were killed, 8 were injured. However, mainstream media and intellectuals of the state cared less to report on these clashes as the casualties were Hindus. 

2016, Kaliachak: Mob violence broke out on January 2016 in retaliation to Kamlesh Tiwari’s alleged ‘blasphemous’ remarks against the prophet of Islam. Mobs of over 1 lakh furious Islamists attacked the police and vandalized police stations. The administration failed to contain the enraged mob as they broke barricades, confronted security forces and injured over 30 policemen. They then blocked the tracks of Khaltipur railway station disrupting train service for a prolonged duration. And as is the norm when Islamists go on the rampage, Hindus were attacked inside their homes and their property destoryed.

2016, Dhulagarh: Amidst the celebrations of Milad-ul-Nabi, a massive clash broke out in which Hindus again were the easy targets. An entire Hindu colony was found deserted after the residents fled the rampaging rioters chanting “Pakistan Zindabad.” While some took shelter in a temple, mobs continued to loot valuables from the abandoned homes and burned them down. Secular media did no justice in covering the pain of the robbed and devastated Hindus. 

2017, Baduria/Basirhat: A alleged Facebook post by a minor boy provide an exuse for Islamist violence leading to the death of a 65-year-old and 23 others sustained injuries. It happened on 2 July 2017 when, retaliating to a minor’s alleged ‘blasphemous’ post, a huge 5000-strong-Muslim mob carried out an arson attack on the Hindu home, but did not stop at that. They continue to ransack Hindu-owned shops and block roads. As the situation continued to worsen, with local police failing to contain it, the enraged Muslim mobs attacked 200 Hindu homes, gutted 5 Hindu temples, and vandalized 2 more. The violence continued for over a week. The Rath yatra became the next target of the radicals and on 9th July a mob of 70-90 Muslims targeted 9 more Hindu temples and demanded that the minor be handed over to them for sharia-style punishment.

2018, Asansol: A heavy communal flare-up was reported in Raniganj, Asansol after an attack on a Ram Navami procession. There were bomb blasts, firing, robbing of houses and shops by fierce mobs. Several police vehicles were charred down, following which a contingent of Rapid Action Force had to be deployed to restore normalcy in the area. Soon after the riots, it was reported that the Hindus were fleeing the area to settle in safer locations with lesser Muslim population. 

2020, Telanipara: HinduPost had reported how clashes broke out when residents from the densely-populated Wardibazar area tried to enter the Telinipara area on flouting the nationwide lockdown. Wardibazar is a Covid-19 sensitive area; hence, locals of Telinipara resisted their entry.

However, horrific visuals that soon surfaced on social media showing that the situation was graver than what was being reported. Hindus who lived in the Muslim-dominated area were charged at by massive mobs of armed rioters who had stormed into the streets with crude bombs and swords, defying the lockdown norms. Several unarmed Hindus were injured and many Hindu houses were set ablaze. 

Apart from these, there was the shameful incident of the attack on doctors by a rioting mob of Muslims after a septuagenarian patient passed away at NRS Hospital in 2019. Incapable to contain the rioting mob, the police stood silent as the skull-cap wearing rioters pounded on the resident doctors of the hospital, armed with sticks and make-shift weapons. 

This was a short account of the ‘religious harmony’ Mamata Banerjee boasts of in each of her public speeches while mocking the BJP as dangabaaj, party of goons.

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