Vol. XL No. 32 August 07, 2016
Stop Violence: Solidarity with Bengal

THE CPI(M) and the Left Front and the people supporting them in West Bengal have been facing unprecedented violence and attacks by the Trinamool Congress after the Assembly elections were over. The nature of the widespread violence and terror has not been fully comprehended outside the state given the fact that the mainstream media has stopped reporting these events after the victory of the TMC. It is to draw attention to the continuing violence and outright attacks on democracy in the state that the CPI(M) is observing a week in solidarity with the Party and the Left Front in West Bengal from August 1 to 7, 2016. West Bengal has experienced continuous violence and efforts to suppress the Left movement since the Assembly elections held in May 2011, five years ago, which saw the defeat of the Left Front government and the assumption to office by the Mamta Banerjee government. That chain of violence has now been intensified and extended after the results of the Assembly election this May. Taking advantage of the electoral victory, the Trinamool Congress has planned the current offensive with a view to eliminate the CPI(M) and the Left organisations in the state. The latest attacks are designed with two distinct purposes – terrorise the areas where the Left Front has performed well so that the people are cowed into submission and, secondly destroy the Party organisation and capture the trade unions and mass organisations. It is with this motive that more than 1000 offices of the Left parties and mass organisations have been destroyed, ransacked or captured. 12 CPI(M) and Left Front members and supporters were killed during and after the election, taking the total number of cadres and supporters killed to 186 since the 2011 Assembly election. Over 3,000 were injured. In the attacks, women have been specially targeted. 31 rapes and 746 cases of physical assault and molestation of women have been reported. Even children have not been spared from physical assaults. The offensive has targeted ordinary supporters and the working people who have stood with the Left. Many of the offices of the mass organisations were constructed with the support of the people. By destroying them, they are trying to suppress the rights of the working people. Another method of terrorisation is to drive away the families from their homes. More than 11,000 people have been forced to leave their places of residence in the last two months since the election results were declared. Another instrument of oppression is the fines which are levied on the Left supporters and common people. Extortions and forcible collection of fines have crossed the figure of Rs 3.5 crores till the end of July. The fascistic attempts to uproot the Communists and the Left also include supporters of the Party and the Left Front being deprived of their livelihood. Thousands of shops belonging to the Left supporters have been ransacked or looted. Peasants are not allowed to cultivate their own land in some cases. There have been evictions of patta holders and bargadars in some areas. Entire villages have been attacked or burnt down. 70 villages have suffered such attacks. In no part of India has such a planned and systematic attack occurred to eliminate a political formation and its movement. What is happening in West Bengal is a savage and premeditated attack on democracy, the democratic rights of citizens and their right to live a life of dignity. None of the fundamental rights accorded to citizens of the country are secure in West Bengal under the TMC regime. The CPI(M), the Left Front and other democratic forces in West Bengal are courageously facing this attack and mobilising the people to resist this offensive. There are innumerable instances of poor peasants, agricultural workers, adivasis and thousands of working class, women, student and youth activists braving this ordeal and standing up to defend democratic rights and the cause of the Left and democratic forces. They require the full support and solidarity of all the Left, democratic and progressive forces in the country. The solidarity campaign underway will take this message to the people all over the country. (August 3, 2016)