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Friday, June 2, 2023

Shocking details emerge of horrific post-poll violence and sexual assaults in West Bengal

The violent reprisals against BJP supporters and workers that have engulfed West Bengal since the evening of 2 May have received scant coverage or have been played down in mainstream media. Social media posts and the odd ground report by some independent journalists have given us a hint of what has unfolded. BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari and party President JP Nadda have shared disturbing figures on the depth and breadth of violence. But most journalists have presented this as ‘routine political violence’ between TMC and BJP, and our ‘liberal’ intelligentsia has remained unmoved.

Now, news details have emerged which show that what has happened since 2 May, and is still happening, in West Bengal, is a black mark on democracy. It will shake the faith of every Hindu towards our democracy, where mere exercise of voting rights invites such a brutal pogrom from the winning party. The apathy of our entire institutional set up – judiciary, government, media, bureaucracy – towards this mass violence, will force many to question the very purpose of our Republic. The silence of the international torch-bearers of liberal democracy will also not go unnoticed.

Yesterday, HinduPost reached out to Smt. Rakhi Mitra, Secretary of the BJP Mahila Morcha in WB, to understand the situation on the ground. What we learnt left us shattered.

Firstly, the violence is still going on. Despite all the communiques issued by the Governor and MHA to state police and administration, despite visits of NHRC and NCW teams, the violence has still not ended.

As per Rakhi ji, as of 9 May 2021, 18 BJP supporters or their family members have been murdered, 170 women have been raped, 6126 women molested, 2942 villages have been affected, 4105 people are severely affected (houses burnt/vandalised etc) while 33,840 have been rendered homeless (fled in fear) out of which 14,245 are from SC/ST communities. 300 villages are severely affected. 1800 people have fled to neighbouring states of Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand.

She highlighted a few incidents:

  • Gosaba and Basanti, South 24 parganas district: JCB (bulldozers) are being used to demolish houses, with full knowledge of local administration. In parts of the district where women are being raped and molested or houses burnt, no ambulances are being allowed due to which there is no official record in hospitals. This is how they are ensuring that officially, these crimes simply don’t exist.
  • Haroa, Basirhat, North 24 Parganas district: A BJP Mahila Morcha worker was stripped naked publicly, TMC goons then pissed on her palms and made her lick it.
  • Bowali, South 24 Parganas: 6 girls, relatives of BJP workers, were forced to strip naked and dance to the ‘Khela Hobe’ (TMC’s election campaign song, which means ‘Game On’) song.
  • Canning West AC (Assembly Constituency), South 24 Parganas district: A 14 year-old girl standing outside her house was attacked. Her nightie was torn with a blade, and once nude she was molested and a video shot. The goons said they are saving the video for ‘future use’.
  • Sandeshkhali, Hingalganj, Minakha blocks, Basirhat subdivision, North 24 Parganas district: 20-23 women have left their homes because they were threatened with rape.
  • Nabagram village, Jamalpur AC, Purba Bardhaman district – on the evening of 2 May, TMC MLA Alok Kumar Majhi’s men came and destroyed 17 houses. Late at night, they returned and warned everyone ‘Khela Hobe’, which sent waves of panic through the village. On 3 May, around 11.45 AM they returned with weapons, including firearms. They started asking for BJP worker Ashish Kshetrapal’s house. First, his father came out and they chopped his hand. When the mother, Kakali, came to save her husband, she was chopped from behind on the neck and died.

Her body was lying unclaimed in the government morgue for 4 days, and it was only when Rakhi ji did a video on this gory crime did the administration do her cremation. Ashish had to go underground and couldn’t even perform his mother’s last rites. His father’s hand was operated on, but is as good as useless now. On the night of 3 May, the TMC goons again attacked Nabagram village – this time in front of a large police contingent which was just 400 feet away but which just stood watching. 150 people have been rendered homeless in that village. In total, in Nabagram and nearby areas of Bauripara, Sashtitala, 85 houses are totally empty – entire families have fled.

  • On 9 May, a BJP worker Bappa Chakraborty’s house in Jagatdal, North 24 Parganas was ransacked by TMC goons. This is the area of Barrackpore BJP MP Arjun Singh. When Bappa approached some central forces stationed there, he was told to approach police. The family somehow managed to file an FIR. At night, the TMC goons returned, they switched off the electricity in the entire area and announced “Today you have filed an FIR, now we will return tomorrow and ‘Khela Hobe’.” No police protection has been given to the family.

Rakhi ji added, “There are no FIRs for any of these cases due to the atmosphere of terror. WB Police and CID will say what Mamata wants them to say” The Nanoor, Birbhum gang-rapes of two BJP polling agents are also being hushed up, she said. WB Police has termed them ‘fake’, and one of the alleged victims was made to attend a press conference alongside murder-accused TMC strongman Anubrata Mondal, where she denied she was raped. HinduPost has learnt from other sources that such ‘political’ sexual assaults are usually hushed up in West Bengal with the victim’s family forced to ‘compromise’ in exchange of money.

Rakhi ji and her daughter have also been threatened. On 2 May, when her daughter was returning home, 15 TMC goons accosted her and told “Now you have also joined your mother. We will do ‘Khela Hobe’ with both of you.” On 3rd evening, 30 TMC goons destroyed the BJP flag she had put up near her apartment building in Kolkata and menacingly shouted, “This is the house of Rakhi Mitra.”

However, she is undaunted and refuses to shift for her safety. She met NCW chief Rekha Sharma who had come on a two-day visit to West Bengal last week, and submitted a written report.

To the BJP leadership, she has a simple question – “Where are the BJP leaders and candidates? Why have they switched off their phones? We needed to act immediately…Union Home Ministry was ours. One word from the Home Minister could have made Mamata behave. It’s disappointing, voters are asking if the party can protect us. Our leaders need to be seen walking the streets with karyakartas. See how Mamata stands with her workers. If the Centre can’t prove to courts about the situation here and the need for central intervention, how can they expect a poor karyakarta to gather evidence?”

When asked why Mamata Banerjee, being a woman, is allowing her party workers to rampage and sexually assault and humiliate women in this manner, Rakhi ji replied, “Mamata doesn’t care. In the last 10 years, so many women have been raped in West Bengal…in 2012, when the Park Street gang rape happened, Mamata and TMC insinuated that the victim was a prostitute by saying ‘there was a disagreement with customers because of which she was raped’. Mamata Banerjee never felt for any woman. She is a woman in name only, she is a curse on womanhood.”

One hopes the BJP central leadership takes note of what grassroots workers are saying. Immediate steps should be taken to protect hapless Hindus of West Bengal from the violence, which is still continuing. While the fight for justice to victims will be a long one, at least monetary, material and medical relief, including counselling for traumatized girls, should immediately be rushed by the centre and BJP.

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