The National Human Rights Commission said in its report submitted to Calcutta High Court on post-poll violence that, after visiting 311 spots in 20 days and carrying out an extensive inquiry in the matter, the seven-member committee concluded that the current situation of the State, is a manifestation of ‘Law of Ruler’, instead of ‘Rule of Law’
Post-poll Bengal Violence had been projected as a myth by West Bengal’s ruling party and their followers. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), by order of Calcutta High Court’s 5 Judge Bench, had investigated the ground facts of Bengal violence and recently submitted their report to the High Court on July 13. A part of that report has leaked to the press and public statements wherein are beyond democratic perceptions. NHRC reportedly stating West Bengal is under the Law of Ruler and not Rule of Law has shaken the soul of India. The seven-member NHRC panel, set up on High Court’s order in June to look into post-poll violence in the State after election results on May 2, marked Bengal clashes as the “death knell of democracy”. While a part of the 50-page report by NHRC has leaked into the public domain, West Bengal Chief Minister slammed such leakage and questioned why the report wasn’t submitted confidentially to the High Court. NHRC explained they’re unaware of the exact mechanism of leakage as apart from the High Court, Commission sent its report to 10 other persons, including lawyers like Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibbal etc. who too were parts of the case. As media have widely reported certain findings and recommendations of NHRC and as the full report would come to public domain only after Calcutta High Court hears the case, it would be wise to abstain from commenting on details of the NHRC report except one. Out of the 9,304 people named as accused, less than 3 per cent are currently in jail, found the seven-member panel of NHRC indicating how the Government of West Bengal were protecting goons and perpetrators.
It would be relevant to mention that since West Bengal is topping in India in the rate of unemployment (as high as 22 per cent), urban and semi-urban middle class settled here do not have much employment opportunity that suits their class, taste and need. As an alternative source of earning, a subscription to TMC’s political venture provides them lump sum dole amounts from time to time
While TMC denied charges, marked NHRC report as ‘anti-Bengal’ and accused BJP was trying to exaggerate isolated clashes, the so-called secular mass of Kolkata & nearby surrounding areas too had nearly subscribed to the idea that Bengal Violence was a myth being propagated by BJP out of political vendetta as they lost the Assembly election to TMC. Being secularly Nehruvian, opposing BJP at its face value is a common practice by a section of the Bengal populace. These people live in their comfort zone of ruling out the reality & extent of Bengal violence as accepting it would burst the bubble of Utopia they’re living in. Such people believe BJP is the second richest party in the world who are ‘orchestrating events in Bengal’ and subsequently ‘titling them as post-poll violence’. These people also hypothesise Courts to be solely choreographed, Constitutional bodies like the Election Commission of India to be biased and Statutory Bodies like National Human Rights Commission to be an extended wing of the ruling legislature at the Centre, i.e. BJP. Approximately 10–12 per cent of Bengal’s Hindu voters subscribe to such a belief system— suggests analysis of Election data. Does this section of Hindu Bengalis configure the moral backbone of TMC’s tyranny? Perhaps yes. This section comprises the media men of Bengal along with men solely influenced by Bengal media. A significant part of these people are direct or indirect beneficiaries of TMC’s politics of selectively gratifying sections of the society. Engineers getting assignments of road and bridge constructions through the back door, Doctors indirectly patronising malpractices in Medical Institutions and charging patients unduly heavy paying cut money to the ‘right place’, Actors, Artists, Players getting various awards sponsored by Government of West Bengal, Professors, Poets, Writers chairing different lucrative committees, ex-bureaucrats advising State administrative bodies in lieu of hefty honorarium, business persons are given a free pass to evade GST and State taxes in lieu of paying impressive amounts as a donation to the ‘right person’ are all parts of TMC’s vote bank. This populace being direct or indirect beneficiaries of TMC-policy, tend to surmise every democratic institution may be choreographed in lieu of personal benefits. A saying goes in Sanskrit— ĀTMAVAT MANYATE JAGAT which hardly needs any explanation. Nothing except a paradigm shift may change such a psyche, which is anything but democratic. Dedication to Nehruvian leftism and/or receipt of personal benefits from the TMC party ‘help’ this section of Bengalis rule out the struggle for the existence of another very large section of the Bengal populace who voted for BJP this year. The former feels comfortable repudiating ‘fundamental right to life’ is being denied to innumerable people of Bengal simply because their political inclination was towards TMC’s opposition. In reality, a significantly large section of Bengal-violence-denying people are the privileged class, the ‘have’s under the present system who tend to leave a blind eye towards wretched adversities faced by others in different parts of the State. Acknowledging the reality of Bengal violence would cause them loss of moral high ground of being ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ etc (as defined in post-independence, post-Partition India), and fetch them ‘anti-Bengali tag.
NHRC has reportedly marked Bengal violence to be premeditated. West Bengal Chief Minister herself indicated probability of such mayhem and a number of videos demonstrated TMC leaders threatening Police and CRPF that they’d retaliate once ‘their government’ was back in ‘action’. The NHRC report stated that it collected a whopping 1979 number of complaints from 23 districts where incidents of violence had taken place post-Mamata Banerjee’s May 2 win
It would be relevant to mention that since West Bengal is topping in India in the rate of unemployment (as high as 22 per cent), urban and semi-urban middle class settled here do not have much employment opportunity that suits their class, taste and need. As an alternative source of earning, a subscription to TMC’s political venture provides them lump sum dole amounts from time to time. Recipients of doles through Clubs, Puja Committees, Sports Academy etc. and by defalcation of money allotted to different Governmental welfare schemes, are compelled to be yes-men to TMC for subsistence and/or additional benefits. In a way, TMC as a political party has appointed a sect of Bengal populace as their retainers. Not mere voters, these people are financially dependent on TMC-cum-GOWB. Their unfortunate invertebrate status is factually attributable to their financial helplessness in the State. Is this another reason West Bengal CM is unwilling to create true job opportunities in Bengal or absorb tens of thousands of Government vacancies? Not impossible. In lieu of scarcity of jobs, TMC is getting retainers, costing the lives of people who wanted to refuse TMC-retainership.
The National Women Commission received dozens of
complaints related to rape and molestation in post-result violence in Bengal
Another section of the Bengal populace, to hold Nehruvian leftism high and to maintain status-tags of being ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ etc., doesn’t care if some other sects of Bengal mass meet untimely death facing political violence. Would splotching this section of ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ Bengal populace as ‘indirect and inadvertent perpetrators of Bengal violence’ be much inappropriate? NHRC has reportedly marked Bengal violence to be premeditated. Several pre and post-poll incidents of West Bengal corroborates with such claims of NHRC. West Bengal Chief Minister herself indicated probability of such mayhem and a number of videos demonstrated TMC leaders threatening Police and CRPF that they’d retaliate once ‘their government’ was back in ‘action’. However, even if Bengal violence on the ground was premeditated, Bengali Bhadralok’ indirect participation in it by remaining silent & repudiating its reality, appears unpremeditated and eventual. Mamata Banerjee knew it well that she’d get silent support from this particular class of Bengalis.
It would be grossly incorrect to splurge TMC and its Supremo only in darker shades. Several features of Mamata Banerjee fascinate common men and those who go close to her. She is a well-behaved, grounded lady with the nextdoor-neighbour image in interpersonal relations, which she capitalised well in her political career all through. She’s caring, favours her own dedicated mercenaries and knows well how to use people for political and material gain. Those who go close to her generally fall for her apparent simplicity. She can include people in mutually beneficial transactions. After being close to her, it’s hardly possible not to slip into her grip. However, haven’t we read fairy tales in childhood where a beautiful Queen in the daytime turned into a dreadful monster every night and went demonic? Haven’t we enjoyed Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?
Out of the 9,304 people named as accused, less than 3 per cent are currently in jail, found the seven-member panel of NHRC indicating how the Government of West Bengal were protecting goons and perpetrators
While verbally denying the reality and extent of Bengal violence, West Bengal Government declared statewide lockdown immediately after Eid-ul-fitr stopping local trains and all other modes of inter-district transport, showing Covid-cause and leaving no scope for anyone to go places to validate reality of violence reported through social media. While the Media of Bengal synchronised their standpoint with TMC-cum-GOWB’s, why didn’t they reach the ground to cross-verify truthfulness and extent of Bengal violence? Media didn’t reach the grounds of Bengal to either disprove or approve the genuineness of Bengal violence, leaving room for speculations & mistrust for all. Why did the 4th pillar of democracy stand completely defunct in probing Bengal violence? As West Bengal does not have almost any vibrant, large volume business, Bengal media has to depend almost exclusively on the Government of West Bengal for financial support through advertisements. Hence, even if it be assumed that Bengal media couldn’t practically be pro-active to probe post-poll violence to save their bread and butter, why didn’t even National media reach the ground of Bengal before GOWB announced lockdown? Those who hypothesise Bengal violence is manufactured and deny the reality of it need to ponder on why didn’t the media reach the ground of Bengal to disprove the claim of violence as raised by BJP and nationalists.
While the Ministry of Home Affairs, President of India, Supreme Court of India, Calcutta High Court have received several reports, intimations, appeals, petitions from different forums against post-poll violence in West Bengal, TMC personnel and a section of the Bengal populace are verbally denying it without any factual counter-evidence. While the victims are claiming victimisation by goons, it’s easy to guess from TMC’s antecedents that they, with the help of Government of West Bengal, would keep no stone unturned to intimidate the victims either to keep their mouth shut or to change their statements. However, would Bengal’s rogue ruler be reined, or Bengal syndrome would spread like fire all over India, devastating India’s great democratic institutions? The doubt prevails as the Union of India has not yet stepped in and has not taken any concrete steps to alleviate the miseries of violence victims. Would every mortal part of those who were murdered, each scratch on raped women’s skin, ashes of those houses that are burnt, every inanimate object of those properties looted, and every square foot of those lands that are forcefully captured bounce back with revenge one day? To deny all denials of the miserable genocide that happened in Bengal post-May 2, 2021? There’s blood in everyone’s hand.
(The writer is Kolkata-based political analyst)