People's Democracy

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


No. 27

July 07, 2013


AIDWA Condemns Attack on Women Leaders


THE All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has strongly condemned the attacks on its women leaders in West Bengal, and demanded security for all candidates seeking to contest panchayat elections in the state.


In a statement issued from New Delhi on July 1, the AIDWA said the latest assault on women leaders in Shasan area of Barasat in West Bengal revealed the contemptible levels to which the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) is willing to stoop, in its hankering for power. Barasat is already in the news as an epicentre of atrocities against women. On June 27, 2013, an all-women march campaigning for the CPI(M)’s Zilla Parishad candidate, Nuri Begum, was attacked by Trinamul hooligans. An ex-minister of the state and AIDWA leader, Rekha Goswami, senior leaders like Romola Chakrabarty, Soma Das, and others in the rally were brutally assaulted by TMC goondas. The procession was attacked from all sides so that the women were trapped and could not run to safety. As many as 19 women were badly injured and were admitted to hospital. Soma Das had to be admitted to a nursing home in Kolkata. The assailants were also trying to locate the candidate, so as to cause her further injury. Majid Master, husband of Nur Begum, along with family, had to flee their home, fearing further violence.


Shamefully, the police stood by as mere spectators. No action has been taken against TMC minister Jyotipriya Mallik’s whose hate speech reportedly provoked his party’s men to lead the attack.


The AIDWA has condemned the alarming breakdown of law and order in the state, under Ms Mamata Bannerjee. In fact, the AIDWA alleged, the chief minister has turned a blind eye to the unleashing of physical attacks against scores of candidates in the forthcoming panchayat elections.


Expressing dismay at this trend of violent attacks being unleashed on women activists in West Bengal, in an attempt to undermine the democratic process of panchayat elections, the AIDWA said many candidates are being forcibly prevented from filing their nominations, and women, who would now form 50 per cent of the elected bodies, are being targeted and harassed across the state. AIDWA activists have been among the worst affected as they have always played an integral part in this democratic process. A significant section of them is of dalit, tribal and minority women. The list of victims keeps growing at an alarming rate every day. In the district of Bardhman alone, 175 women were prevented from filing their nominations. Other districts like Paschim Medinipur, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, Howrah and South Dinajpur also reflect this trend. The destruction of a democratic structure that held pride of place internationally and nationally cannot be and should not be tolerated.


The AIDWA has urged all the democratic forces across the country to raise their voice to oppose this assault on grassroots democracy.  


In this regard the AIDWA has raised the following demands:


1) Stringent action against all those who indulged in the violence. The police must be held to task for not providing requisite security.

2) Immediate stop to the intimidatory tactics being employed by the TMC to subvert the democratic process.

3) The panchayat elections must be conducted in a free and fair manner in West Bengal.   


The AIDWA has asked its units to hold protest demonstrations across the country against such assaults on its leaders and the undermining of the political process of panchayat elections in West Bengal.