West Bengal is not unacquainted with blood-soaked political tussles. In the 70s too, the state had witnessed mindless bloodshed and brutality as the Congress and the Communists wrestled for the throne of Bengal. The most infamous of such tussle for power was the Saibari incident in May, 1970, in which the CPI-M cadres mercilessly killed 3 brothers, all Congress workers and force fed their mother with rice soaked in their blood. After that, Bengal was witness to many such gruesome political killings throughout the Communist regime.
There has been a change of guard in Bengal with the TMC assuming power in 2011 and then being re-elected in 2016 with a bigger majority. But the communist legacy of political violence and bloodshed continues. The intensity of such violence keeps increasing by the day and gains momentum every time there’s an election round the corner. Mr. Sanjay Baru- political commentator, media advisor to our Ex Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and author of the book, ‘An Accidental Prime Minister’, had mentioned in an interview of a television channel during the Lok Sabha elections of 2019, that violence and bloodshed has always been the norm in Bengal, whenever political transition of power took place. This was the reason that the 70s witnessed so much of bloodshed and that is the reason for such mindless violence now because a transition of power is imminent.
The gruesome killing of Mr. Debendra Nath Roy, BJP MLA from Hemtabad, North Dinajput, West Bengal is one of such incidents of political violence and bloodshed, though it appears to be the most spine-chilling ones in recent times. Mr. Roy, a rajbanshi leader was elected to the West Bengal Assembly in 2016 under a CPI-M ticket. He had won the party ticket three consecutive times. However, in May, 2019, he, along with 50 councillors joined the BJP and has been working tirelessly and in a dedicated manner initiating the saffron upsurge in his area of operation, as claimed in social media by the BJP karyakartas who had worked with him. He was very popular in his constituency and was known to have always worked for the well being of the people there.
As the horrifying video of Mr. Roy’s body hanging publicly in front a mobile shop, just 1 away from his home was posted on social media by the Bengal BJP official account, there was national outrage and widespread anger at this ghastly killing. The netizens, not only from Bengal, but from all over the country expressed their wrath on social media. Mr.Roy went missing from Sunday night.
The West Bengal Police have urged upon the people not to jump to any conclusion regarding Mr. Roy’s death and are alleging suicide as they claimed to have found a suicide note in his shirt pocket but are yet to verify the handwriting. But the BJP and Mr. Roy’s family members refuse to buy the suicide theory. They claim it to be a cold blooded murder. The manner in which the body was hung with one hand clutching the rope makes it hard to believe that he could have taken his life that way. The Bengal BJP Chief, Mr. Dilip Ghosh has demanded a CBI enquiry into the death. He tweeted that he does not trust the state authorities to carry out an impartial inquiry into the death of Mr. Roy making CBI enquiry necessary. Bengal BJP Mohila Morcha President, Ms. Agnipatra Paul tweeted “Family members of MLA claim that he has been killed and hanged later. People of the area also claimed that the BJP MLA was murdered and then hanged.
However, police said the cause of death will be ascertained after post mortem.”
The Bengal BJP held a silent rally in North Kolkata on Monday afternoon in protest against this ghastly killing. They say that they find it hard to believe that Mr.Roy took his own life. Mr.Roy’s nephew stated that he was being threatened by some goons over the last few days as per Republic TV. All such claims and allegations both by the police on one side and the BJP, family members of the deceased and the media on the other, have laid the case wide open.
The manner in which the 65 year old Mr. Roy was killed is absolutely similar to the way two young BJP Karyakartas, Sishupal Sahish, Trilochon Mahato and Dulal Kumar of Purulia were killed by hanging from trees in April and May, 2018. This uncanny similarity also builds a strong case for murder due to political vendetta staged by the ruling dispensation of Bengal.
Another incident of brutal killing occurred in Sandeshkhali, Basirhat in June 2019, when three BJP Karyakartas, Pradip Mondal, Tapan Mondal and Sukanta Mondal were chased and shot-the first two in the eyes and the last one in the forehead, killing them. 4 persons were arrested for the killings, all were believed to be associated with the TMC. A local TMC leader, Sk.Shah Jahan believed to be the mastermind behind the killing. Shah Jahan, instead of being arrested, was honoured by a local Bengali News Channel, Kolkata TV. The photos of the felicitation , posted by the TV anchor, Suchandrima Mamata Paul, went viral on Social Media as the netizens watched in shocked disbelief how a murder accused was honoured by the media.
This was followed by another bizarre killing of an RSS functionary and a school teacher, Bondhu Prakash Pal, his pregnant wife and eight year old son were butchered to death in October, 2019 in Jiagunj, Murshidabad. However, a mason was arrested for these murders ruling out any political angle to it.
Over the past two years over 100 BJP karyakartas have been killed and many more tortured and intimidated just for being a BJP member. But the ghastly killing of Mr. Debendranath Roy in a talibanisque manner has set forth a wave of worry and fear amongst the common people of Bengal, specifically with regard to their safety and security. If a sitting MLA can be killed this way, can they be spared, they fear. Some netizens were seen posting a caveat on facebook, ‘Please hide your political preference if you want to survive in Bengal’, thus indicating that the ghastly killing did terrorise them as well, which might as well have been the purpose of this dastardly killing. This, coupled with continous arrest of the nationalist voices in the state, who criticize the State Govt on social media, may cast a spanner on voicing one’s opinion on social media.
The question plaguing the common man of Bengal after this horrific killing of Mr.Debendranath Roy is that – Does democracy exist in West Bengal? Any opponent voice is being shut down by the powers that be, in this manner with no redressal for such crimes. The common man watches helplessly, hoping for this bloodbath to end.