State-wide day of protest was observed on 13th May 2014 in West Bengal against against the mockery of democracy and turning the elections into a farce in the state. Left parties would join in with a countrywide protest on 14th May. Left activists and supporters from cross-sections of society joined the protest today. They seem determined to continue the struggle against the anarchist regime in West Bengal.
Through the day more reports on the polling day violence kept coming in. In Thakur Colony of Chakdah, Nadia, an aged woman Bela Dey was severely injured while trying to save her son, a Left Front supporter, in an attack on their house before the polling. She expired today morning.
At Gangarampur of Dakshin Dinajpur, the body of Sabekul Sarkar, CPI (M) activist was recovered from under a bridge.
At Canning, Ghatal, Pingla, and Purulia CPI (M) party workers were attacked and their homes ransacked. At Naihati, houses of CPI (M) workers and supporters were bombed.
At Radhanagar of Kharagpur, 25 homes of Left Front workers and supporters were attacked. Women were threatened of rape.
A pregnant woman was thrown to the ground and beaten with lathis and rods at Basanti of South 24 Parganas, by TMC goons for disobeying them and voting yesterday. Her husband and father-in-law were also beaten.
At Mangalkot, Burdwan, rampant irregularities occurred even during the re-polling at booth no: 53. The presiding officer sat passively as TMC workers took control of the booth.
A report published in the Times of India on 13th May 2014 characterized the voting process in Diamond Harbour parliamentary constituency with a story titled ‘Point-blank View of Silent Rigging in Diamond Harbour’. It reported that “Election Commission sources said 1,048 booths of the 1,879 polling stations in Diamond Harbour constituency were manned by central forces."We asked all candidates and considering their requests, we fixed the deployment," an official in DEO office said.
This version hardly matches with the ground reality. Md Arabul of Panakuya gram Panchayat area said: "If they have deployed central forces, where are they? From Sunday night, Trinamool's bike gangs were doing rounds across Bishnupur threatening people not to leave their home. We didn't see any central force. How could we risk going out?"
"They took an innovative route to intimidate voters. They chose 375-400 of the 831 booths not manned by central forces, mostly in minority-dominated areas. Most of the booths are in Bishnupur and Falta and some at Amtala. They forced people to stay indoors. I tried to reach Amgachia, Panakuya and Kalagachia but was stopped. In most of the booths, there were neither agents nor voters but more than 70% polling was completed by 10.30 am-11 am," said BJP candidate Abhijit Das.
Several such incidents were reported. In response to the shocking violence that many in West Bengal found to be unprecedented, the protest marches in all parts of the state testified to the dominant sentiment prevalent across different sections of the society. The scale of violence and the apathy of the state machinery that remained mute witness to this has angered people. There is a felt need to restore democracy in the state and the movement to demand the same is only set to gain strength in the coming days.
13th May 2014