West Bengal is, once again, erupting in violence as the party workers of BJP and TMC clash over several issues. There are reports of shootings and stabbings, but a grim twin murder on Monday has grabbed national headlines. On June 10, BJP worker Samatul Solui’s body was found hanging from a tree in Howrah. On Sunday, June 9, RSS member Swadesh Manna was also found hanging from a tree.
BJP Howrah president Anupam Mullick was quoted by Times of India as saying, “Dolui was active in BJP and gave the party a lead from his booth in the Lok Sabha polls. He had received death threats soon after he took out ‘Jai Sri Ram’ rallies in the locality. Trinamool-backed anti-socials ransacked his house immediately after the polls.”
Manna too was part of the ‘Jai Sri Ram’ rally.
However, the TMC denies any hand in this, saying none of its members are linked to the violence. TMC Chief Mamata has also accused the Centre of unduly interfering in Bengal’s matters.
BJP workers also alleged that TMC party workers shot five of their colleagues and 18 others are missing.
BJP’s Mukul Roy said that Banerjee was “directly responsible for unleashing violence against BJP workers”. He also said that home minister and BJP President Amit Shah will be updated about the violence against its party workers in Bengal.
India Today reports that the clash in Sandeshkhali started when BJP flags were begin forcefully removed.
TMC-BJP violently clash during Lok Sabha elections 2019
The TMC and BJP were involved in several violent clashes during the Lok Sabha elections 2019. The tension between the two parties stemmed from predictions that the BJP would gain crucial new ground in West Bengal, Banerjee’s bastion.
In the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the BJP won 40% of the vote share in Bengal, translating into 18 out of 42 seats in the state.
In almost all seven phases of the general elections, TMC and BJP workers clashed on polling days and in voting booths. One of the most violent incidents was during Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata.
On May 14, several BJP party workers attacked Calcutta University students, broke into Vidyasagar College, and vandalised the campus. The students were shouting anti-BJP slogans such as “Amit Shah Go Back”.
The police dispersed the crowd with a lathi charge and arrested some ABVP members, as well.
BJP observes ‘Black day’ in Bengal and Banerjee orders crackdown
Three FIRs—for rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon, shooting, stabbing, abduction, and intent to murder—have been lodged with the West Bengal police. They have been registered under the Arms Act, says the Economic Times.
Two of the FIRs have been registered by the families of Pradip and Sukanta Mondal, who were killed in the fight over the flag removal. The BJP is also observing ‘Black Day’ in remembrance of its slain workers and to protest against the TMC’S handling of the situation.
Banerjee said that the police has been instructed to take severe action against those creating violence. She has also disputed the number of deaths reported by the BJP in Bengal.
“Some of the police officers in some police stations are not working. We will take strict action against them. However, Bengal is not Gujarat and also not Uttar Pradesh. Around 25 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh after election. Children were also killed. But MHA issues advisory to Bengal to defame and discredit the state”, said Banerjee.
The Home Ministry has issued a notice to Bengal saying Banerjee’s government was not adequately maintaining law and order in the state. The TMC responded via a letter stating that everything was “under control” and that “firm and appropriate actions” are being taken in the “stray post-poll clashes”.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.