People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 24

June 16, 2013




Law & Order Situation Utterly Collapses


From Our Correspondent in Kolkata


IN West Bengal, a new wave of terror has been unleashed by the ruling Trinamul Congress before the panchayat elections, with murderous attacks on the opposition and complete disregard of the constitutional responsibilities of the state administration. The assault picked up momentum during the filing of nominations.




Violent attacks on the Left parties have resulted in a series of murders. Comrade Dilip Sarkar, CPI(M) Burdwan district secretariat member and CITU district secretary, was shot dead in broad daylight in Burnpur on June 9. Motorcycle- borne assailants fired upon him from close range in the early morning. Apart from organising the workers, Comrade Dilip Sarkar was in charge of Barabani in panchayat elections, the area which he represented as a legislator during 2006-11.


Just a day before, Comrade Subhash Mondal, a CPI(M) member, was killed at Patharpratima in South 24 Parganas. He was murdered in a village where TMC gangs also attacked the house of a CPI(M) candidate and severely injured his wife. The miscreants attacked the village after the CPI(M) braved the terror and filed nominations in the panchayat elections.


Comrade Madan Soren, an adivasi supporter of the CPI(M), was killed at Galsi in Burdwan in a gang attack on the villagers on June 10. The CPI(M) has filed nominations from the village Ketna and TMC leaders threatened the former’s candidates to withdraw. The villagers urged the CPI(M) candidate not to bow down to the pressure, and that was their crime. An armed TMC hooligan gang stormed the village, killing Comrade Soren and injuring many others including women.




Incessant attacks have been launched by the ruling party from the day one of the process of filing of nominations. Armed TMC gangs practically guarded the BDO offices and prevented the Left Front candidates from filing nominations in numerous blocks. After the first wave of such attacks, the State Election Commission permitted them to file nominations in SDO offices. But even those offices were attacked, mostly with the police playing the role of either mute spectators or collaborators. For example, at Bolpur town in Birbhum district, Left Front candidates were brutally beaten for two consecutive days. In Bolpur alone, 260 Left activists were injured, 33 of them seriously.  Similar attacks were unleashed in Coochbehar, Bankura, West Midnapore, Burdwan, East Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly.


Apart from that, intensive terrorisation in villages has created an atmosphere of fear. Armed TMC gangs went through villages, declaring that no opposition candidate would be allowed to file nomination. Hundreds of incidents of attack took place in villages almost in all districts, preventing the Left parties from fielding any candidate in many places.


Despite this terror, thousands of people came forward to contest the elections as Left candidates and filed nominations. In many instances, they went to file their nominations in processions. In many cases, they had to take other methods like coming alone or even swimming through rivers to avoid the armed gangs.


The second phase of violence erupted with the aim of forcing the opposition candidates to withdraw from the fray. In Shalboni, Goaltor, Nayagram, Mohanpur and Sabang, for instance, bike-borne TMC gangs went in search door to door and threatened the Left candidates. Many candidates were forced to sign the withdrawal papers under duress. At Bhangar, Canning and Basanti in South 24 Parganas, some of the candidates were kidnapped and their houses were attacked. In many cases, candidates were forced to withdraw under the threat of dire consequences.


A glaring example of such terror tactics is that notorious TMC strongman, Arabul Islam, jailed for attack on Abdur Rezzak Mollah, has won ‘unopposed’ in Bhangar 2.


In Burdwan, the incident of Galsi, mentioned earlier, was not an isolated one. In Kalna, TMC gangs entered the villages in Begpur along with police van escorting them. They attacked the houses of CPI(M) candidates. At Arambagh, Goghat and Khanalul in Hooghly, the Left Front was not allowed to file nominations in most seats. At Nandigram, Khejuri and Patashpur in East Midnapore, TMC gangs entered the houses of candidates at night and forced many of them to sign the withdrawal papers. In both West and East Midnapore, family members of the CPI(M) candidates were kidnapped and severely beaten in TMC offices. In North 24 Parganas, women candidates were attacked and many of them had to be admitted in hospitals.


The most affected districts are Bankura, West Midnapore and Hooghly where the TMC reign of terror has resulted in hundreds of seats going unopposed. Entire stretches in large parts of Bankura and four subdivisions Hooghly witnessed no opposition candidates. In Jangal Mahal areas in West Midnapore, former Maoists, who have turned TMC leaders, led the attack. Many such former Maoists and activists of the so-called ‘Peoples Committee,” accused in murder and violence, have actually become TMC candidates.

Till the time of filing this report, 4282 seats in three tiers in nine districts went without any competition in the first phase of elections. This amazing figure includes 10 zilla parishad seats. In more than 16 per cent seats, there remained only one candidate.




Left Front leaders have alleged that a jungle raj, total anarchy, has been created in the state. Left Front chairman Biman Bose alleged that the ruling Trinamul Congress was using brute force to prevent opposition candidates from filing nominations for the panchayat elections or making them withdraw. "Participatory democracy cannot exist if opposition candidates are forced to withdraw or not file nomination," Bose said at a press conference following a Left Front meeting which discussed the prevailing situation. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, in a public meeting, wondered what was the meaning of such elections where opposition was not allowed even to file nominations. RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI leaders have also alleged that the law and order situation in the state has seen its worst collapse.


Even then, the Left Front has decided not to allow the panchayat polls to be turned into a farce.  There will be united and resolute fight to defend democracy in the state.


The Left Front has expressed serious resentment over the silence of the governor in such a worrying situation. On the other hand, the State Election Commission has, despite its efforts and legal actions, failed to ensure fair and peaceful elections. The commission’s repeated requests to deploy central forces have been thwarted by the state administration, which has adopted delaying tactics.