By Arun Srivastava
Malicious and capricious violence and killing of the rivals has acquired the quintessence character of new political ethos. Erosion of the traditional political ethics has been so intense that the basic culture of politics has become indiscernible. There is a common notion that politics is the game of urban areas. But it is not correct to a greater interest. Contrarily it is the rural India that witnesses toxic political culture. Whether it is Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal or any other state, political genocide has been a common thing.
Since sixties the political culture has undergone complete transformation. In all the states it is the violence that defines the character of the political economy. Politics underlines the economic growth and empowerment. Politics has always been the mechanism for socio and economic development, but the emergence of junker (kulak) politics brought about major change in the perception of politics.
During the Left Front rule, a new class of middlemen emerged taking benefit from operation barga, and during Mamata Bnerjee’s rule a culture of syndicate has grown to take control of the rural economy. “Syndicate” culture — initially limited to certain construction projects in urban Bengal has become quite popular in the rural areas with the government pouring huge fund in the rural Bengal. This has been witnessing the growth of a strong and well entrenched nexus between politics, political patronage, corruption and organised crime.
It is alleged that in the crime at Rampurhat in West Bengal in which nearly 10 persons including 7 women and child lost their lives, the victims and the alleged perpetrators were the members of the ruling Trinmool Congress. Bhadu Sheikh, deputy pradhan, was murdered in Botugi village, and in the hours after Sheikh’s murder, a group of people set ablaze houses of the suspects’ relatives, killing eight people. What wa significant this was not a communal killing, it did not involve Hindus and Muslims. Instead both the factions belonged to the minority community.
Though the BJP leaders took out a rally and paid tribute to the victims, it was purely for preparing its future ground. No doubt the Mamata should look in this trend seriously and strive to curb the culture of violence. It is alleged that the violence might not had happened if the police should have been alert. Questions are being asked about the absence of police forces in areas where arson and violence took place after Sheikh’s murder. It is an known fact that the police in the states usually behave like subservients the ruling party and the ruler ought to take more cautious steps.
The apprehension that the political opponent of Mamata Banerjee might have chalked out this violence to malign her and her government cannot be ruled. In the same Birbhum the BJP had conspired large scale violence during the assembly election last year. But a cautious Mamata foiled that design. In fact after the Rampurhat massacre, Mamata said that “… the possibility of a larger political conspiracy to malign the image of the State cannot be ruled out and the investigation will make all-out efforts to unearth all those who are behind the occurrence of the incident”. But one side she must launch a major campaign to dismantle the syndicate culture.
Addressing a virtual event to inaugurate a gallery dedicated to freedom fighters at Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata, Narendra Modi expressed his deep concern and promised to provide all support in bringing the perpetrators to justice. For earning peoples’ sympathy he said that he hopes the state government will get the perpetrators punished. “Main hinsak vaardaat par dukh vyakt karta hoon, apni samvedna vyakt karta hoon, aur asha karta hoon ki rajya sarkar Bengal ki mahaan dharti par aisa jaghanya paap karne waalon ko zaroor saza dilwayegi (I express my condolences on the violent incident in Birbhum, and hope the state government will get those who committed such a heinous sin on the great land of Bengal punished)”.
He even said “I request the people of Bengal to not forgive the criminals and those who encouraged them”. Ironically Modi expressed grief at the killing of 8 in Rampurhat, but he did not utter a single word when his own party men openly crushed 8 people Pilibhit just ahead of the assembly election. PM’s hurried response to Bengal carnage is just opposite to his stance on Uttar Pradesh incident, where too eight people were killed on October 3, 2021. Modi on Wednesday termed the massacre in Birbhum a “jaghanya paap (heinous sin)”.
Mamata while describing the incident as rare she promised no one will be spared, she said such incidents were rare in Bengal but common in BJP-ruled states. Meanwhile she has removed the police officers who were supposed to act as soon as Bhadu Sheikh was killed. Now she has asked for the removal of intelligence officers, which is an admission of an intelligence failure. It shows she is in no mood to spare anybody.
It is also apprehended that some senior Trinmool leaders who have been feeling alienated and isolated in the party in the wake of purification drive of Mamata, have been for some time trying to create foment and malign the party, especially Mamata. It is also alleged that some of them are in close contact with the BJP turncoat Subhendu Adhikari. Basically this was with the view to extend moral support to such TMC leaders that the BJP took out a big rally demanding action against killers. Incidentally the 20 persons named as possible attackers were supposed to be supporters of the deputy gram Pradhan. They had resorted retaliatory action to revenge killing of their leader. (IPA Service)