The clashes come against the backdrop of a sweeping victory for the ruling Trinamool Congress after a bitter and acrimonious struggle with the BJP opposition.
West Bengal was plagued by widespread violence on Monday that reportedly left several political workers dead and injured, prompting the Union’s Home Office to request a factual report from the state government and the Chief Minister-elect Mamata Banerjee to call for peace and calm. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and expressed his anguish over the law and order situation in the state.
The clashes come against the backdrop of a sweeping victory for the ruling Trinamool Congress after a bitter and acrimonious struggle with the BJP opposition. Both sides blamed the other for the violence that reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least seven people, injuries to several others and the looting of the homes and shops of political workers. The TMC won 213 seats against 77 in the BJP.
Four people were killed in alleged clashes between TMC and BJP supporters in Burdwan district on Sunday and Monday, officials said. The TMC claimed that three of them were its supporters. The BJP claimed that at least nine of its workers and supporters, including a woman, were killed in the violence allegedly unleashed by the Trinamool Congress after its victory in the assembly elections.
The BJP also shared videos of an alleged arson attack at a party office with bamboo poles and tiles on fire amid worried screams from people fleeing the scene. Photos of deceased people and people walking around with looted clothes in a store have also been posted on social media.
अवांछित और अति निंदनीय !!
लोकतंत्र में हार-जीत अपनी जगह पर है, लेकिन जीत के उत्साह में बंगाल में भाजपा कार्यालयों पर हमले टीएमसी की क्षुद्र मानसिकता को दर्शा रहे हैं।
क्या ये स्वस्थ लोकतंत्र की निशानी है ??@KailashOnline @shivprakashbjp @DilipGhoshBJP @ BJP4Bengal @ BJP4Jharkhand pic.twitter.com/pMYFWH5Pxr
– Dr Pradip Varma (@PKVarmaRanchi) May 2, 2021
ममता जी की जीत के बाद उनके कार्यकर्ता जश्न मना रहे है और भाजपा कार्यकर्ताओं के घर तोड़ रहे है।
अब तक 9 से ज़्यादा भाजपा कार्यकर्ताओं की हत्या हो चुकी है। pic.twitter.com/sMDpX4qu61
– Kailash Vijayvargiya (@KailashOnline) May 3, 2021
The TMC supremacy rejected the BJP accusation and urged its supporters to keep the peace, and asked them not to fall prey to provocations. Central forces committed numerous atrocities against TMC supporters during the elections, she said.
“Even after the results were announced, the BJP attacked our supporters in some areas, but we ask our men not to be provoked and to report to the police,” Mamata said. She alleged that some police officers worked partisanly against the TMC during the elections.
The situation remains tense as BJP National President JP Nadda is in the state for a two-day visit, meeting with suspected victims of the violence, while the party also announced a national TBEN on May 5 (tomorrow ), the day Mamata is about to take the oath of office. There are also concerns about the rampant spread of disinformation and fake news using old and unrelated visuals to stoke anger and panic among people. Fact-checking portal Alt News debunked two related allegations on Twitter.
This is an image from 2019 when a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was damaged at Vidyasagar College in Calcutta. It has nothing to do with the violent events that may be happening in Bengal right now. Large number of old images and videos shared, be careful. https://t.co/Vvfjj7k45jpic.twitter.com/009uSAQter
– Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) May 4, 2021
पश्चिम बंगाल हिंसा से जोड़कर एक वीडियो शेयर किया जा रहा है जिसमें भीड़ पुलिस पर हमला कर रही है. बताया जा रहा है कि इस भीड़ में TMC कार्यकर्ता हैं. जबकि ये वीडियो ओडिशा का है और लगभग 3 महीने पुराना है. पढ़िए #AltNewsFactCheck | @HereisKinjal https://t.co/N8Mj2RBsOG
– Alt News Hindi (@AltNewsHindi) May 4, 2021
Some BJP leaders have also introduced a community lens to the clashes at a time when the state is reeling from political violence. BJP’s Swapan Dasgupta, who since contested Tarakeswar in the election and lost, took to Twitter to claim that “an alarming situation has unfolded in Nanoor”.
Alarming situation in Nanoor (Birbhum district) with more than a thousand Hindu families in the fields to escape the marauding crowds seeking to attack BJP supporters. Reports of sexual assault or worse from women. @AmitShah please rush some security in the area.
– Swapan Dasgupta (@ swapan55) May 3, 2021
– Kailash Vijayvargiya (@KailashOnline) May 3, 2021
Meanwhile, The time of India reported that the National Commission for Women has learned suo motu of these incidents of violence against women in West Bengal and that a team led by President Rekha Sharma will visit the state for further investigation.
West Bengal police denied similar reports and called them fake news. TMC MP Derek O’Brien has dubbed the clashes the result of friction between BJP factions.
– West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) May 4, 2021
The BJP computer cell could have given the trolls a short time after the results. All cases on SM are BJP intra-group fights. Three +
factions in Bengal. They hate each other.
MO-SHA has been coming here and spreading hatred for the past four months. Bengal wants peace and harmony. BJP wants division https://t.co/MAXXs6sv13
– Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) May 3, 2021
Intolerance your name Mamata Banerjee: JP Nadda
Nadda said on Tuesday that the widespread violence after the polls in West Bengal is a reminder of the atrocities people faced during the partition of the country, and urged party workers in the state to democratically fight “savagery”. He also said that Mamata does not represent Bengali culture.
I said it earlier too, Mamata ji does not represent Bengali culture. Intolerance, your name is Mamata ji: the head of BJP JP Nadda in Kolkata, West Bengal
– ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2021
Nadda, who arrived for a two-day visit to Bengal, said BJP workers across India have expressed solidarity with their activists in the state, who “face heavy attacks.”
“We are committed to democratically fighting this ideological battle and the activities of the TMC, which is full of intolerance,” he told reporters at NSC Bose International Airport in Kolkata.
“I had heard about the immense atrocities committed during the partition, but I have never seen such post-election violence that occurs in West Bengal after the
declaration of election results (May 2), ”said the top BJP leader.
Nadda said he would visit the residences of BJP workers “killed” in attacks in the South 24 Parganas district and speak to their relatives. “We want to convey this message that millions of BJP workers across the country are with them,” he said.
BJP State President Dilip Ghosh, who accompanied Nadda, expressed solidarity with the victims of the violence.
Claiming that attacks are taking place in places where the TMC has won with a huge majority, Ghosh said the BJP leadership was with the workers who fought the elections at the risk of their lives.
Governor informs Narendra Modi and declares ‘horrible state of affairs’
West Bengal Governor Dhankhar said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called him and expressed his anguish over the law and order situation in
state following reports of post-election violence in several districts.
The Prime Minister called and expressed his grave anguish and concern at the alarming situation of law and order @MamataOfficial
I share serious concerns @PMOIndia since violence vandalism, arson. looting and killings continue unabated.
The concerned must act in overdrive to restore order.
– Governor of West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@ jdhankhar1) May 4, 2021
Videos of an alleged arson attack at a BJP office with bamboo poles and tiles on fire amid worried screams from people fleeing the scene were shared by the party.
“Police @WBPolice @CPKolkata must end senseless political violence, vandalism, arson, murder and bullying that shames democracy. Why the violence after the ballot
only WB? Why this assault on democracy? Asked the governor on the microblogging site.
“Reports indicate a horrific situation. Horrified people are fleeing to save themselves,” he added.
With inputs from PTI