National Protest by Left Parties on July 24: Murder of Democracy in West Bengal and Tripura

AN open daylight murder of democracy is taking place in the states of West Bengal and Tripura. Human rights and political freedom have come under severe strain. This is increasingly being seen all across the country as, for example, in the brutal suppression of dalit protests as well as use of draconian laws against human rights activists. This, however, has come into sharp focus in West Bengal and Tripura, strongholds of the Left movement in the country.  Politics of violence and terror continues to be unleashed by the ruling BJP-IPFT government in Tripura and the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal. 

TRIPURA

Ever since the BJP-IPFT government assumed office in the state, the CPI(M), the Left Front and democratic mass organisations have been the target of the violence perpetrated by the BJP/RSS.

Four CPI(M) comrades have been murdered since the assembly elections.  1000 Left activists, including 100 women, have suffered injuries.  Around 750 offices of the CPI(M) and Left parties have either been burnt, attacked, or, captured.  Close to 200 offices of the Left mass organisations have been attacked and nearly 150 have been forcibly occupied. 2100 houses of Left sympathisers have been ransacked and looted. Shops and other activities like poultry/fishery of Party members have been ransacked and looted and rubber plantation burnt. Around 500 comrades had to shift from their homes in the face of attacks and are currently accommodated in camps at various Party offices. 

Apart from physically targetting Left cadres, even programmes and events conducted by the Party and the Left have come under attack. Even May Day celebrations were sought to be disrupted in various parts of the state.  Programmes commemorating Karl Marx bicentenary are being attacked.  The progressive daily Desher Katha has become a target with transporters carrying the paper as well as subscribers being threatened.

Pradhans, chairpersons and elected members of various local bodies including the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) are being coerced either to resign or join the BJP.

The complicity of the state administration is revealed by the fact that Party leaders are being attacked even inside the police station where they go to lodge complaints.

WEST BENGAL

In West Bengal, the TMC regime has been maintaining its reign of terror and fascistic attacks directed against the Left Front. After the 2016 assembly elections, the TMC launched widespread attacks against the Left parties, particularly in areas where the CPI(M) and the other Left parties continue to retain the mass base. Since June 2016, 31 CPI(M) members and supporters were killed by the TMC goons. Another move resorted to was to forcibly capture the panchayat samitis and gram panchayats and municipal bodies where the Left Front had a majority. Thousands of people had to leave their homes due to the threats and attacks. There has been a pre-election rigging of the 2018 panchayat elections through widespread attacks and violence to prevent nominations being filed by Left Front and opposition candidates.

More than eleven activists of the Left parties have lost their lives in course of the panchayat election related violence. Abduction and arson are wanton.  The police administration is in complete cahoots with the TMC goons.

The scale of violence makes it very clear that free and fair poll is impossible with such active involvement of the TMC-led administration. As a result, The TMC captured 16,814 of the 48,650 gram panchayat seats and 3,059 of 9,217 panchayat samiti seats uncontested. Moreover, of the 825 zilla parishad seats, the Mamata Banerjee-led party was declared the winner in 203 seats.

The techniques adopted by TMC counting agents are unheard of. During counting, TMC goons removed ballot papers stamped for Left Front candidates and replaced the same quantum of ballot papers with TMC stamp.

The Supreme Court, in a case whose hearing continues, has recently observed that grassroots level democracy, as enshrined in the constitution, was not working in West Bengal. 

These developments are part of the larger attacks on the livelihood and hard-earned rights of the people.  In the struggle against forced acquisition of land in Bhangor, a number of activists were killed in police firing and by TMC goons. One of the top leaders is under detention under UAPA.

The Left parties strongly condemn this daylight murder of democracy in West Bengal and Tripura and call upon all their units all across the country to organise protest actions condemning this barbarity and mobilising the people in defence of democracy, human rights and civil liberties.

The Left parties call upon the Indian people to come forward to defeat such fascistic attacks on our constitution, people’s democratic rights and civil liberties.

 

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