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Post-Poll Violence in West Bengal, 10 Killed, PM Expresses Anguish

Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 4: Amidst serious post-poll mayhem making West Bengal to bleed, the prime minister Narendra Modi taking his time off from the Covid pandemic management called up the governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Tuesday expressing his “serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law and order situation.”

Even as various political parties kept accusing each other for unleashing violence, several political leaders condemned the “manner” in which the victorious Trinamool Congress workers have allegedly chosen to celebrate the massive mandate the people have given to the party, attacking the supporters of the BJP and ransacking their property.

Official sources said at least 10 people had been killed in the state since the counting of votes started on May 2 and the trend in favour of the TMC became evident. Eight of the deceased were claimed to be the BJP supporters while two of the TMC workers also were killed in retaliatory attacks. The newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF), which had aligned with the Congress-Left alliance, also claimed that one of its workers was killed in North 24 Parganas.

Modi dialed the Governor to discuss the political violence in the state and deteriorating law and order situation following the counting of votes. The Union home ministry has asked for a report on the violence.

Governor Dhankar who tweeted the anguish expressed by the prime minister also in another tweet tagging the chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, “I share grave concerns given that violence vandalism, arson. loot and killings continue unabated.”

A BJP leader has appealed in the Supreme Court for a probe into the violence by the Central Bureau of Investigation. In his appeal, he said BJP workers were attacked and killed and women have been raped.

BJP chief JP Nadda is on a two-day visit to the state from Tuesday to meet the families of the party workers hit by the violence, the BJP said. “The incidents which we saw after the results of West Bengal polls shock us and make us worried. I had heard of such incidents during India’s partition. We had never seen such intolerance after the results of a poll, in independent India,” Nadda said.

In her address to the people yesterday, Mamata Banerjee had appealed for calm and blamed the BJP for the violence.

“Bengal is a peace-loving place,” said the Chief Minister, who has won a third straight term in the state. “During the elections, there has been some heat and dust… The BJP did a lot of torture, also the CAPF. But I appeal to all for calm. Don’t indulge in violence. If there is a dispute, inform the police. The police must manage law and order,” she added.

The BJP has claimed that eight people — including party workers and their family members — died in violence by Trinamool workers across six districts. One person died in Kolkata and another in nearby Sonarpur.

The Trinamool Congress has claimed that two of their workers were beaten to death in East Bardhaman district. On Sunday night, in an alleged clash between Trinamool and BJP, a 55-yera-old man was killed at Raina, also in East Bardhaman district.

The CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also condemned the violence, tweeting : “Are these reports of gruesome violence in Bengal TMC’s ‘victory celebrations’? Condemnable. Will be resisted and rebuffed. Instead of focusing on combating the pandemic TMC unleashes such mayhem. CPI(M), as always will be with the people to protect, assist, providing relief.”

The Congress in charge of West Bengal Jitin Prasada said, “the post poll violence that has been unleashed by the TMC on the Congress workers is unacceptable. Even women and children are not spared. I’m sure the people of West Bengal did not vote for this lawlessness.”

In New Delhi, the BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra expressed anger at the killing of four alleged BJP workers in the State. “Mamata ji, you have won and everyone has congratulated you for it. You are a woman and a daughter of Bengal. Aren’t the women who are being raped and killed daughters of Bengal? Do they deserve this” he asked.

Meanwhile, the BJP has announced a nationwide dharna on May 5 against the alleged attacks. The proposed agitation is planned on the same day as Mamata Banerjee is expected to take oath again as the state’s chief minister. Until Mamata’s swearing-in takes place, the governor is in charge of the government’s administration in West Bengal.

 

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