Concerns rise as numerous bombing incidents and killings create an atmosphere of fear and unrest in West Bengal
KOLKATA: West Bengal is currently grappling with a disturbing surge in violent incidents of bombings and targeted killings as the panchayat polls draw near, casting a shadow over the democratic process in the TMC-ruled state.
One incident, which occurred on June 19 in Murshidabad’s Jangipara area, saw five children between the ages of 7 and 11 sustain injuries when they mistakenly played with a crude bomb, causing an explosion. The children are currently receiving treatment at Jangipur Subdivisional Hospital.
Another such incident took place in Murshidabad itself on June 24, resulting in the death of a 26-year-old person and leaving three others injured.
On June 26, authorities discovered four fresh bombs near a primary school in Duttapukur, North 24 Parganas. Thankfully, prompt action allowed for the safe defusal of these potentially devastating explosives, preventing any potential harm.
In addition to the bombings, clashes and violence between political parties have been escalating. On June 2, a clash erupted between the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and Trinamool Congress in Deganga, leading to a series of bomb hurlings between the rival groups.
Further illustrating the severity of the situation, on June 28, West Bengal police successfully neutralized a bomb in a village located in Murshidabad.
The state has also witnessed a spate of targeted killings since the announcement of the nomination date for the panchayat polls. These incidents include the killing of a Congress worker in Khargram on June 9, the murder of a relative of a BJP candidate in Dinhata on June 17, the assassination of a Trinamool leader in Sujapur on June 17, the death of a CPM worker on June 21 due to multiple gunshots, and the killing of a Trinamool leader in Purulia on June 22.
Opposition parties have accused TMC of unleashing violence on the state as a tactic to win the panchayat polls.
“The deployment of central forces is required to address the internal conflict within the TMC. They fight against the opposition and among themselves, seeking a lease to loot for the next five years,” BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya told The New Indian.
Responding to the prevailing situation, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakroborty condemned what he described as autocracy in West Bengal and alleged that the ruling party aims to monopolize power from the panchayats to municipalities and all committees, eroding the principles of opposition rule.
He further criticized the presence of armed miscreants brought in to hinder nominations in Bhangar and highlighted the paradoxical situation where the chief minister provided Z category security to one such person. Chakroborty’s observations shed light on the complex dynamics at play in the region.
Denying the Opposition’s allegations, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said his party believes in peace and welfare activities while placing the blame on the Opposition parties, alleging their repeated failures in submitting nominations led them to resort to violence. He claimed that these parties were importing arms and ammunition from neighboring states and employing individuals from neighboring countries to create chaos and incite violence.
With 3,317 gram panchayats, 22 zilla parishads, 9,730 panchayat samiti seats, and 63,229 gram panchayat seats at stake, the state faces a crucial test in upholding the democratic ideals of fair and safe elections.
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