Mamata Banerjee has taken West Bengal to a new low in minority vote-bank politics. As worse, she has imperiled the well-being of others, who live in fear of their lives
Clearly, the situation in West Bengal is spiralling out of control and deteriorating by the day. The recent spate of mob violence and the pogrom unleashed against the Hindus of Basirhat, Baduria and the adjoining areas in the State’s North 24 Parganas is a stark example of how West Bengal is rapidly changing under the insensitive and authoritarian administration run by Mamata Banerjee and her rag-tag party called the Trinamool Congress.
What makes the Basirhat cycle of events even more shocking, though not surprising, is the involvement and abetment in the violence of Trinamool Congress leaders of the area, who either did nothing to prevent the conflagration or sided with the blood baying mobs and ensured that the Hindus of the area — all belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities — were terrorised and forced to flee by abandoning their home and hearth.
Most of the usually vocal intellectuals of Bengal, those who keep promoting letter and signature campaigns against various causes, those who keep engineering grievances so that they can highlight them not in their name, have been strangely silent for this entire past week, when Hindus of that area were battered by the ruling party’s cadres, anti-socials and cadres of the Jamaat and other outfits. Either they have not really followed what is happening, which is unlikely in this age of information of explosion — most of them would not, however, perhaps know what Basirhat looks like — or by habit they keep silent when Hindus are attacked because protesting against that would cost them very dear (they dare not jeopardize their well-oiled and well-provided for existence just for a few cries from a few villages) especially if these happen to be Hindu voices. Also, such protests have no international takers and do not offer scope for foreign jaunts!
While shops were gutted, places of worship vandalised and women and children threatened, all that Mamata Banerjee and her Ma-Maati-Manush Government did was to twiddle its thumb, prevent the police from taking any action and make sure that the Central forces, that were in the first place asked to be deployed by the State Government itself, were prevented from reaching the spot. Such deliberate inaction, conniving silence and planned conspiracy to create disturbances in the region have clearly proved that the ruling Trinamool Congress, its cadres and henchmen are clearly part of this organised violence.
In fact the present Government in West Bengal, is a Government of lumpens, for lumpens and by lumpens. Its head, the State’s Chief Minister, has all but forgotten that she was given the mandate and returned to power as a representative of all sections of the people. In the last six years or so that she has been in power, Mamata Banerjee has completely ignored that dimension of her mandate; she has unabashedly and shamelessly pandered to minorityism and resorted to appeasement politics; has encouraged and given a free reign to political and religious lumpens represented by her intemperate party cadres and venom-spewing and rabble-rousing mullahs whose only duty has been to corner the Hindus of the State, generate a fear psychosis among them, threaten them and subject them to mob violence and to abuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the active support and blessings of the State’s Chief Minister and a number of her Ministers as well. Her party leaders threaten with dire consequences anyone who protests or is seen to turn around and resist.
In Mamata’s Bengal, the Bengali Hindu, especially one belonging to the marginaliased sections, has really no place, it seems. While the Chief Minister goes to foreign climes to receive some award and waxes eloquent of her efforts to develop the State, while she jaunts around the country teaching everyone the virtues of secularism, of Opposition unity and other such gaseous theories, the majority section of her State is given a raw deal, and in that those who do not toe her political line and are not chained to her party, face the most acute discrimination and retribution.
This pattern of violence that West Bengal has been increasingly subjected too, especially since the Mamata Banerjee dispensation took over, has an interesting commonality. Though one can never absolve the communists for the kind of devastation that they had wreaked on the state, if one were to examine these incidents from the past, in 2010 for example, under the Left Front regime, when the Deganga pogrom took place and the Hindus were prevented from holding their Durga Puja in the area and their lives disrupted, the clear support and connivance of the local Trinamool Congress MP emerged, be it the blasts at Khagragarh, the violence in Kaliachak, the pogrom in Dhulagarh and now Basirhat. The local Trinamool leaders have always been involved.
In March 2013, a massive public meeting was organised in the Kolkata Maidan against the War Crime trials in Bangladesh and in support of the Razakars, and it was a Trinamool Congress leader who was at the forefront of this massive and abusive demonstration. While the local leaders connive and engineer violence and play around with our national security, Mamata Banerjee, despite knowing the situation, looks the other way; ignores these repeated occurrences; abuses the Central agencies, the Union Government and looks upon the expression of concern and protests as a conspiracy to destabilise her Government in the State.
But perhaps the tide is beginning to turn now, and people are gradually seeing through her betrayal of their aspiration. Her anxiousness to protect her hold on that section of the population by whose votes she thinks she has come to power and will continue to remain in power, has blinded her to the crying need for protecting the vast majority in the State, for whom and in whose name the State was created seventy years ago.
Such a taking for granted attitude will of course take its toll, especially when this large and silently suffering section realises that its future is in peril. Then, no amount of coaxing and false promises will lull them once that awakening starts. The fight for survival, the fight for a secured existence does give great strength and tenacity to a cornered people. While that resistance will gradually build up, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is clearly failing to control and tame the monsters that she has unleashed in the State in the name of a utopian poriborton. Untamed, unleashed and hungry monsters can eventually turn around and consume anyone, they have no masters…by