Kolkata: Eleven thousand taken into preventive custody, greater than 8,000 non-bailable warrants (NBWs) executed and upwards of 20,000 licensed arms seized. These are among the many measures taken to make sure that Panchayat polls in West Bengal, to be held on 8 July, will not be marred by political violence, as has been the case with native physique elections within the state.
On Tuesday, the Calcutta Excessive Courtroom ordered deployment of central forces in any respect 61,636 polling stations throughout the state, a day after the Union authorities, following a excessive court docket order, deployed 485 extra corporations of central forces in West Bengal — taking the entire variety of corporations deployed within the state in the course of the Panchayat polls to 822.
In line with the West Bengal State Election Fee (SEC), 5 lives have been misplaced and 337 sustained accidents in incidents attributed to pre-poll violence within the state between 8 and 27 June. Accordingly, the state police took 11,051 individuals in preventive custody, executed 8,449 NBWs, seized 20,770 licensed arms, 175 unlicensed arms and 700 explosives, cartridges and so on. for the reason that imposition of the Mannequin Code of Conduct (MCC) within the state.
Violent clashes between political employees have remained a standard thread in West Bengal beneath all events, be it the Congress, the Left or the incumbent Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC).
“Violence has been a part of West Bengal politics for a very long time,” says political analyst Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, including that the caste and communal violence one sees in different elements of the nation have “largely been absent in Bengal the place social divisions alongside political strains have historically been a powerful issue”.
“Since allocation for panchayats has elevated in recent times and the elections are performed by the SEC, whose independence from the state authorities stays questionable, grassroots-level politicians have tried to seal the decision by flexing their muscular tissues,” he tells ThePrint.
Information compiled by the Nationwide Crime Information Bureau (NCRB) beneath the pinnacle ‘motive of homicide for political causes’ reportedly reveals that West Bengal recorded 13 such killings in 2018 — the very best amongst all Indian states that yr. Minister of state for dwelling Nityanand Rai had additionally knowledgeable Parliament in August 2021 that as many as 230 deaths attributed to political violence have been recorded throughout the nation between 2017 and 2019.
Within the case of West Bengal, a report by New Indian Specific had revealed that the state witnessed 47 political killings involving BJP and TMC employees for the reason that 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 38 of which occurred in south Bengal.
Addressing the media Monday, Governor C.V. Ananda Bose — who has been visiting elements of the state that witnessed violence within the run-up to the Panchayat polls — stated: “This political holi with human blood has to finish”.
During the last fortnight, the Governor has visited Bhangar, Canning and Basanti in South 24 Parganas, apart from Dinhata in Cooch Behar district.
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‘Extremist political custom an indicator of Bengal’
In line with political analysts, the shadow of political violence in West Bengal will be traced to nationalist actions that took form earlier than India attained Independence.
“Extremist political custom is a trademark of Bengal,” says political analyst Udayan Bandyopadhyay. “Even saints like Sri Aurobindo had a violent previous… Individuals right here don’t like comfortable voices. Bengal doesn’t enable caste-based politics. Even after Independence, non secular violence was strongly condemned by the mainstream Bengal politicians,” he tells ThePrint.
Based in 1902, the Anushilan Samiti — a secret society which launched an armed revolt towards the British — is a working example. Then there have been the Calcutta killings of 1946, fuelled by communal frenzy whipped up by Jinnah by way of his name for ‘direct motion’. And in 1967, the state witnessed the Naxalbari motion which aimed to overthrow the state authorities.
Lower to the Seventies, when the Left started to say itself by difficult the Congress and what adopted was a spate of political violence.
This phenomenon got here to a head on 17 March 1970 with the Sainbari murders — when two brothers, each Congress supporters, have been killed inside their dwelling in Burdwan in Purba Bardhaman district, allegedly by CPM employees. The next yr, the killing of Hemanta Kumar Basu, the then 76-year-old chairman of the All-India Ahead Bloc, triggered one more cycle of political violence.
In line with Ambar Ghosh, a fellow on the Observer Analysis Basis (ORF) who has studied political violence in West Bengal extensively, management of sources and essential democratic establishments are the quick causes that result in violent clashes between political employees. He, nonetheless, provides that rivalry over allocation of funds earmarked for rural growth and the zamindari system, which led to plenty of peasant revolts within the state, are among the many extra advanced points at play within the state.
Requested concerning the cycle of political violence in West Bengal and the deployment of central forces for the Panchayat polls, Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Kunal Ghosh tells ThePrint, “Central forces or no central forces, the individuals of Bengal think about the TMC. The legislation and order system is undamaged, it’s the Left who mustn’t talk about violence.”
Within the earlier Panchayat polls in 2018, candidates fielded by the TMC had gained unopposed in 34 p.c of the seats, with opposition events claiming that their candidates have been allegedly coerced to not file their nominations.
CPM chief Bikash Bhattacharya, nonetheless, stated that “there have been clashes, however not political clashes”, throughout 34 years of Left rule. “This was violence on account of reforms, like a landless peasant would combat towards the owner. However now what we see is political violence beneath TMC,” he provides.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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