A social ostracisation diktat issued by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) against opposition party workers at Keshpur in West Medinipore district of West Bengal has created upheaval in the political circles of the state.
Through the diktat, the TMC’s Mahishda unit directed all villagers in the Keshpur block to not provide or sell anything to them, including tea, to 18 people. The handbill with the diktat has been widely circulated in the village. There is also a threat in the handbill saying that those providing these 18 people and their families with grocery materials without the party’s order (TMC ) would be handed out stern punishments. Among the 18 persons and families facing the boycott are members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as well as other opposition party workers--all of them landless labourers or with a small quantity of land at their disposal.
Film actor turned MP Dev (Dipak Adhikari) hails from Keshpur and he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the same area.
The news of the handbill, which is at Newsclick’s disposal, has shaken many as the social boycott has been ordered in broad daylight.
Newsclick sproke to Rameshswar Dolui, former Left MLA and CPI(M) leader from Keshpur, about the incident. Dolui said that the handbill came to their knowledge as well and it was the latest in a plethora of incidents that had taken place in Keshpur since the election results came out on May 2 giving a landslide victory to the TMC. “We are trying to face the problems collectively. The newest addition is the diktat to socially boycott the families of the villages who openly sided with the Left movement. Some of those who have been affected are also poor BJP supporters,” he remarked.
The newest bout of these incidents comes after human rights organisation Akranto Amra (We the Victims) cited 139 occasions after the elections when the opposition supporters or party workers came under atttack in the state starting from the death of Kakali Khetrapal in Burdwan’s Jamalpur area. They have also written about it to the President and the Chief Election Commissioner of India. Interestingly, the organisation has claimed that in the case of any attack on BJP workers, the Governor Jagdeep Dhankar has been proactive and has reached out but the same concern has been missing in the cases involving secular and democratic parties in the opposition.
In the letter, Akranta Amra has earmarked the time frame of April 15 to May 20 when these 139 attacks took place and the victims have been identified in the letter to the President with their names and addresses. In the letter, they also said that the way attacks on opposition workers were raging after the TMC came back to power for the third term was unprecedented. Instances of murder of opposition workers, and setting fire upon their houses have been rampant and “a democratically elected government is putting an end to democracy in the state,” the letter said.
The letter signed by Prof Ambikesh Mahapatra and filmmaker Arunava Ganguly, has rued that there is a campaign in the social media and in sections of the national media that the TMC played an important part in protecting democracy in the country. They said the fact was that after the win of the TMC, hooligan teams had been causing hardships for the toiling people. The letter added that irrespective of CM Mamata Banerjee’s earlier statement that Law and order would be okay, since she took oath for her third term, the police and administration had been maintaining stoic silence while democracy was being mauled.