It has been around two months since the election results were declared in West Bengal, but the post-poll violence on BJP supporters is continuing without showing any sign of ending.
We have earlier reported how workers of the BJP were made targets by the ruling TMC dispensation: rapes, gang rapes, brutal murders, even the most inhuman of atrocities – like stripping a woman naked, then urinating on her palms and making her lick it – has not been off-limits for the state-sponsored goons.
Close to one lakh BJP workers across Bengal have fled their homes, some of them even seeking refuge in neighboring states like Assam. Many internally displaced families are being asked to pay extortion money or send their females for sexual exploitation, if they want to return to their homes and professions.
Now, many BJP workers are being forced to publicly switch loyalties to TMC. This includes BJP members across the hierarchy, be it heavyweight leaders like Mukul Roy or grassroots level workers from rural Bengal.
However, this switching of political sides is neither smooth nor honorable. The TMC goons have assured that the erstwhile BJP workers are subjected to a public humiliation before they are allowed to resume normal lives after swearing loyalty to TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. The intent is to send a chilling message to all those who ‘dare’ to oppose TMC, and it is working.
Around 200 workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Hooghly district have joined the Trinamool Congress after being ‘purified’ with holy Gangajal (Ganga water). But this was not all. These ex-BJP workers were made to shave their heads in full public view and admit that they ‘committed a mistake’ by joining the saffron party. This spectacle was enacted in the presence of TMC MP Afrin Ali (born Aparupa Poddar) who then handed the TMC flags to these “atoned” and “purified” recruits to the party. Holding the TMC flag, the tonsured workers then joined their hands in front of the Parliamentarian, formalizing their entry in Mamata Banerjee’s party.
Thus these workers were purified of the ‘sin’ of joining BJP. And what was the justification provided to cover up this well-planned exercise in democratic fascism?
Afrin Ali stated that her party had organized a ‘charity program’ for providing free food to the poor in the Arambagh area. During this program, some BJP workers from the Dalit community approached her and expressed the wish to be a part of the TMC and to be ‘absolved from their mistake’ of working for BJP.
This is not an isolated incident. Since its victory in the 2021 assembly elections, TMC has ‘recruited’ hundreds of BJP workers from various West Bengal districts. Though TMC leadership claims that these workers are swapping camp out of their own free will, grassroot reports are that the lurking danger of being a BJP worker in the state has compelled these workers to switch loyalties. It is fear for their lives and the safety of their family members that has pushed these workers to join the TMC.
Earlier this month, 50 BJP workers from the Birbhum district tendered a public apology for joining the saffron party. These BJP cadres marched through their village market on Tuesday, 8 June, declaring their decision to be a part of the Trinamool Congress. The BJP worker who was leading the parade addressed the locals who had gathered there to witness the elaborately choreographed event. “We have made a mistake by joining the BJP, we maligned the local panchayat falsely. Now we want to work with the TMC,” he said into a microphone.
District president of the BJP, Birbhum said “This is a shame for democracy. People’s democratic rights have been snatched. Our ground level workers are living in fear. Thus they were being forced to do such things.”
Two SC judges from Bengal have recused themselves from hearing the post-poll violence and other Bengal related matters, without specifying any reason for their recusal. If SC judges are terrified of the ruling TMC regime and fear for their family’s safety, then what hope does an ordinary citizen have? Meanwhile, the glamorous TMC MP Mahua Moitra is appearing on magazine covers and talking about fighting “Modi’s fascism”. A truly bizarre democracy, this!
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.