Amidst Reports of Deaths in Post-Poll Violence in West Bengal, Banerjee Appeals for Peace

The Centre has sought a report on the violence.

New Delhi: Soon after the election results were declared on Sunday, May 2, with TMC emerging victorious, political violence erupted across various parts of West Bengal reportedly killing several people and injuring other. Violence was primarily reported from Burdwan and West Midnapore. The number of casualties remains unconfirmed.

While the BJP has claimed that nine of its workers were killed, TMC said it lost three party workers. The Indian Secular Front (ISF), which had aligned with the Congress-Left alliance, also said that one of its workers was killed in North 24 Parganas. However, there are no conclusive reports on the exact number of people who were killed and injured.

The Union home ministry has sought a report from the West Bengal government on the violence. “MHA has asked the West Bengal government for a report on the post-election violence targeting opposition political workers in the state,” the ministry tweeted Monday.

West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar summoned the state home secretary, director general of police (DGP) and Kolkata commissioner to Raj Bhavan to take stock of the escalating situation. He also separately met chief minister Mamata Banerjee and asked her government to “take all steps to ensure post-poll violence, arson, loot, violence and killings end”.

Earlier, Dhankar took to Twitter to express his concern over the violence. ” Perturbed and worried at several reports of violence, arson and killings from various parts of state. Party offices, houses & shops being attacked. Situation alarming. Prompt action called for @HomeBengal @WBPolice @CPKolkata Have conferred @MamataOfficial for urgent action,” Dhankhar tweeted.

Also read: How West Bengal Halted the BJP’s Chariot

While appealing for calm across party lines, however, Banerjee pointed out until her new government is sworn-in the responsibility of law and order does not rest with them, and it is for the Central forces stationed in the state to act.

“We know that the BJP and central forces had tortured people. The political heat sometimes shot up. But even then, I would urge all to maintain peace and not to resort to violence. If there are any allegations approach the police. Till we take oath law and order is not in our hand. I am not vindictive. But despite the defeat BJP is still torturing people,” Hindustan Times quoted Banerjee as saying, who accused the BJP of “spreading lies using old pictures of riots that did not take place in Bengal”.

Meanwhile, BJP national president J.P. Nadda will be in the state for a two-day visit starting on Tuesday to take stock of the situation. The party has also announced that it will hold nationwide protests on Wednesday, May 5, against “widespread violence unleashed by TMC workers post the election results in West Bengal”.

The BJP said a few hundred party offices and houses of its workers were ransacked across the state since May 2, Sunday, evening when TMC emerged victorious in the assembly elections. Party workers shared videos of alleged arson at BJP offices with bamboo poles and roof tiles burning.

“At least nine persons have been killed in the last 24 hours. A few hundred houses have been ransacked. Reports of violence were pouring in from all constituencies. We have shared video clippings,” Hindustan Times quoted Dilip Ghosh, BJP’s West Bengal unit chief, as saying.

However, TMC MP Derek O’Brien blamed the violence on “intra-party fights” in the BJP. “BJP IT cell could have given trolls some time off after results. All cases on SM are BJP intra-party fights. Three+ factions in Bengal. They hate each other,” he tweeted.

Multiple incidents

Four people were allegedly killed in clashes between the TMC and the BJP in Purba Bardhaman district after the election results were announced, official sources said on Monday, according to PTI.

A few TMC supporters were on the way to Nabagram in the Jamalpur police station area on their motorcycles in the afternoon when they were allegedly attacked in Odishapara by BJP workers, local sources said. They were thrashed and their bikes vandalised, the TMC alleged.

The injured were taken to different hospitals for treatment. Shahjahan Shah (38) and Bibhash Bag (30) were declared dead when taken to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital. Kakali Khsetrapal (47) was declared dead when taken to the Jamalpur Hospital, local sources said.

In another incident, according to PTI, in Samaspur in the Raina police station area, a 55-year-old man was killed in TMC-BJP clashes on Sunday night.

According to local sources, clashes broke out in the village between the two sides after the election results were announced. Ganesh Mallick, known in the area as TMC supporter, was injured after being hit by bamboo sticks. He was admitted to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital where he died, sources said.

Also read: The Unique Identity of Bengal Violence

“My father was discussing the results of the election with a few others when BJP workers attacked them. My father was thrashed with a bamboo stick,” his son Manoj told PTI.

TMC supporters were also accused of vandalising the homes and shops of BJP workers in various parts of Galshi after the results were announced. Several shops belonging to BJP supporters were vandalised in and around Ramgopalpur, Shirrai and Karakdal. Several people were also beaten up, PTI has reported

Shovarani Mandal, an elderly woman from Jagaddal in North 24 Parganas, allegedly got killed when she tried to protect her cornered BJP worker son. Uttam Ghosh, a BJP man from Ranaghat, was also allegedly got killed by rival party workers. A 19-year-old Sitalkuchi youth was also killed by suspected TMC workers, The Times of India quoted Dilip Ghosh as saying.

In Hooghly’s Khanakul, TMC worker Debu Pramanik was hacked to death in his home. A CPI(M) office was set ablaze at Chopra in North Dinajpur, The Times of India has reported. A TMC worker was killed in Pingla in West Midnapore, the Hindustan Times quoted state police as saying.

In the election results declared on Sunday, May 2, TMC came back to power by winning 213 seats, while the BJP managed to win 77 seats. Banerjee will take oath as chief minister for the third time on May 5, Wednesday, which is also the day when the BJP is planning to hold a nationwide protest against “violence unleashed by TMC”.