W Bengal governor calls TMC, BJP, others for talks on law and order problem

The call comes in the wake of fresh violence in the state, with four killings in this week alone

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi | Wikipedia

West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has convened a meeting of four major political parties on Thursday to take stock of the growing law and order problem in the state.

The ruling party TMC, the BJP, Congress and the CP-M have been asked to discuss the issue and put an end to the problem of political killings at the Governor’s House in Kolkata at 4 p.m.
Partha Chatterjee, the state’s education and parliamentary affairs minister will represent the TMC while Dilip Ghosh, the state president of BJP will represent his party. Congress leader Somen Mitra and Surya Kanta Mishra from the CP-M are expected to be present in the meeting.

A statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said that this meeting will be “useful in creating a harmonious situation whereby peace and harmony prevails in the state for the benefit of the citizens”.

The call comes in the wake of fresh violence erupting across West Bengal. This week itself, at least four people have been killed in different parts of the state, including Malda, where the charred body of a person missing for the last two days was found, which the BJP said was its worker. Three TMC workers from Barrackpore and Burdwan too fell prey to the violence in the state.

Junior doctors in state-run hospitals also went on a day's strike on Wednesday after one of them was roughed up by the relatives of a patient who died in a hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday. While the state government has been negotiating with the striking medical professionals, BJP has come out in their support. 

On Wednesday, as the BJP took out a protest march to the state police’s headquarters in Lalbazar, the cops resorted to using water cannons and tear gas to disperse the march.

Previously, Tripathi had expressed his anguish over the prevalent law and situation in West Bengal and had met prime minister Nardendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah briefing them about the scenario.

After the Lok Sabha elections, the state has been mired with political murders with workers and supporters from nearly all major parties losing their lives.

The state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee said that 10 people have fallen prey to political violence of which eight casualties are from her party and the rest are from the BJP. However, BJP’s vice president of West Bengal, Joyprakash Majumder has put the death toll of his party at more than 10. CP-M leader Sujan Chakraborty, on a social media platform also claimed that one of its supporters have lost his life in the ensuing political violence.

Just days after the Lok Sabha election results were declared, violence erupted in the bordering district of Cooch Behar, where the BJP wrestled control from the TMC while the Barrackpore constituency remained tense owing to repeated clashes between the TMC and the BJP. 

But last Saturday, political violence in the state peaked after three workers from the BJP camp and one from the TMC lost their lives brutally in a violent clash in Sandeshkhali in the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency. A bordering constituency with Bangladesh and dotted with numerous alleged illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh, the TMC won this seat by a margin of over one lakh votes.

This incident and the past few ones prompted the Centre to issue an advisory to the West Bengal government asking it to put an end to violence and take steps against guilty officials. The state government, in its reply, had refuted the advisory of the Centre and Banerjee claimed the state to be “peaceful”.

While the TMC has been alleging that “outsiders from Bihar, Jharkahand and other states”, supported by the BJP are spreading violence, the BJP has accused the TMC to be “ushering a reign of political terror” and termed the recent killings as “backlash against voters from the TMC who voted in favour of the BJP”.

The Congress and the CP-M, mostly have been mute spectators although their workers had arranged for some political rallies and protest marches in some districts.