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Saturday, June 2, 2012

West Bengal: A Year of Violence & Crime

New Delhi, May 16, 2012: This is not something the people of Bengal had bargained for when they bought the slogan of “paribortan” advanced by the TMC-Congress combine and decided to end 34 years of uninterrupted reign of the Left Front. Killings, arson, rape, molestation, physical assaults on women, forcible collection of money, eviction from land -- have all become a daily occurrence. It does not surprise them anymore. Slowly but surely, people have started comparing the current dispensation with the dreaded period of the seventies, when the state witnessed semi-fascist terror. Will the state fall back to those days is an apprehension being shared by more and more people. 
Between the period May 14, 2011 when the TMC combine assumed office to May 12, 2012, as many as 65 Left Front leaders, activists and supporters have been brutally killed by TMC goons. 4904 persons had to be hospitalized on account of the injuries sustained in such attacks.
The steep rise in the overall crime graph points to the general deterioration in the law and order situation during the past one year, since the TMC combine assumed office. 40,124 people have been evicted from their homes. It is estimated that an amount of around Rs. 28 crores has been forcibly collected from 9529 persons. 
There has been an alarming increasing in the number of rape cases. 23 cases of rape have been reported from different parts of the state during the past one year. Apart from this, there has also been an overall rise in the incidents of atrocities against women. During the first year of the TMC regime, and shamefully with a lady at the helm, 517 cases of molestation of women and 790 cases of physical assault on women have been reported. One of these cases pertains to the rape of a speech and hearing impaired girl in Bankura by a resident doctor within the hospital premises. In an overwhelming majority of these cases the culprits owe their allegiance to the ruling TMC. Unfortunately, however, in many cases, the complainants have been discredited, their character assassinated and motives assigned. In cases were police officers have investigated independently and proceeded against the culprits, they have been promptly transferred. The CM has had the cheek to call these cases “politically motivated” or “fabricated”, even if it meant tarnishing the image of the victim and defending the perpetrators of these crimes. 
There has been a planned and systematic attack on land reforms implemented during the Left Front rule. Apart from 26,838 pata holders and bargardars (who had received tenancy rights during the tenure of Left Front government) who have been evicted from their lands, 3,418 peasants are not being allowed to cultivate their own land. 
The attack has now spread to democratic institutions and the electoral process, besides the massive attack on the political opponents of the TMC.  Even the levels of intolerance have seen a steady growth. The innocuous act of forwarding an email containing a caricature of the Chief Minister saw a university professor, Ambikesh Mahapatra landing behind bars. Newspapers and periodicals that a library could subscribe to have all been listed and sent in an order to libraries across the state. Boards put up by the Ganashakti daily have been made a special target for attack. 250 of such boards on which the daily was pasted for reading by the public who could not afford purchasing the paper, have been destroyed. Thedemocratic right to protest is also sought to be curtailed. Another renowned professor, Partho Sarothi Ray was arrested and jailed for taking part in a peaceful demonstration against eviction of slum dwellers. 
Since October 2011, 38 incidents of attacks on the election process in different institutions in the state have been reported. 84 student union offices have been captured by the student wing owing allegiance to the TMC. Assault on students, teachers and staff in educational institutions are increasing.
It is but natural that the brunt has been borne by the CPI(M), the mass organisations under its leadership and its partners in the Left Front. Apart from the 65 leaders and cadres of the Left who have been mercilessly killed, 611 offices of the CPI(M) have been ransacked and captured. 217 offices of the mass organisations have been captured in different parts of the state. 14 Party conferences at various levels were attacked. 3293 persons have been arrested on the basis of false and fabricated cases being foisted on them. Arms are being planted in houses and offices of the Party and in subsequent raids “recoveries” are reported. The reported number of such cases is 169. 
Besides, there has been a sharp increase in the number of kidnappings, looting of shops, dismantling of elected three tier panchayat bodies or forcible resignation of elected representatives.
But this is not all. In the seven month period between October 12, 2011 and May 12, 2011, agricultural distress has led 53 peasants to commit suicide, which the government is not ready to admit.

INN

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