In a statement issued on the tragic incident of Shitalkuchi of Coochbehar district of West Bengal, on 10 April 2021, Comrade Chandidas Bhattacharya, West Bengal State Secretary of SUCI (Communist) said :
“We vehemently condemn the planned violence perpetuated in the fourth phase of the West Bengal state assembly elections and the death of five people caused by brutal firing by the central armed forces.
We have observed that the politics of West Bengal has been immensely polluted by the way personal slanders and insulting comments triggered along with religious extremist rhetoric incited by the leaders of the ruling as well as the major opposition parties through their provocative speeches from the very first moment of commencement of the election process.
The incidents of violence and death in different parts across the state during the fourth round of elections has proved that despite mobilisation of so huge number of central and paramilitary forces, the Election Commission has failed to hold the polls in a peaceful and democratic manner. Allegations of biasness have already surfaced against the Election Commission.
The Central Armed Forces and above all the Election Commission itself have to answer – how, despite imposition of section 144 around the polling booths, two major rival parties could mobilise their hooligans and frenzied activists there? Why despite the presence so large battalion of central and paramilitary forces, the violence could not be prevented? Why was straightaway firing resorted to without bursting tear gas shells?
Can the Union government escape its responsibility of the incidents that occurred amidst frequent, if not daily visits of the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to the state? We demand an impartial investigation into the incident, fair compensation for those killed and injured, stringent punishment of the guilty police and impartial and restrained conduct of the central forces.
“In a second statement issued on 12 April, Comrade Bhattacharyya strongly deplored the way Dilip Ghosh, the BJP West Bengal state President, could openly justify the tragic killing of four villagers by the bullet of the Central Armed Forces in Shitalkuchi, by commenting that “Naughty boys were killed by bullets in Shitalkuchi. Naughty boys will not stay in Bengal. If law is taken in hand, Shitalkuchi incident will be repeated everywhere.” This kind of hateful repulsive, haughty, inhuman and fascist approach is highly deplorable. In this very expression, the murky face of the BJP has been thoroughly exposed. Just for the sake of capturing power at any cost, the BJP does not care to kill people as life of common citizens is of no value to them. This arrogant utterance of Dilip Ghosh bears eloquent testimony to that, added Comrade Bhattacharyya. Comrade Bhattacharyya urged upon the democratic minded, conscientious people from all walks of life and irrespective of their allegiance to any party and opinion to raise their voice of disapproval of such comments.
Comrade Bhattacharyya also sent a letter to the Election Commission of India on 13 April 2021 with the following submission :
1) It is noted that for a ‘provocative speech’ Ms. Mamata Banerjee has been booked and consequently a 24-hour ban on campaign has been imposed upon her.
2) It has been the experience of the people of the state since the issuance of notice of WBLA election there has been an explosion of provocative speeches by the leaders of the big political parties very often tainted with religious sensitivity for petty election interest.
3) There have been even speeches with sublime venom and hatred against religious minorities.
4) In this respect BJP leaders should be more accused than those of any other parties. To cite some examples:
a) BJP leader Rahul Sinha said: central forces should have killed eight people instead of four in Shitalkuchi,
b) Another BJP leader Sayantan Bose said: central force should target head and chest during firing,
c) Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president said: there would be more ‘Shitalkuchis’ to teach the ‘naughty boys’.
5) It is quiet surprising why these speeches have not been considered as provocative to the Commissioners and penalty has not been imposed.For all these reasons the impartiality and to that extent the credibility of the ECI is under question.We request you, therefore, to conduct the elections impartially with zero tolerance to the ruling parties.
We also request you to take immediate action against the leaders of the BJP.