Anarchy in Bengal, Congress leader tells Parliament
The murders of student-activist Anis Khan and Congress’ councillor-elect in Jhalda municipality Tapan Kandu was raised in the Lok Sabha by Congress' s leader of the parliamentary party and Bengal chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday.
“Yesterday I could not attend Parliament as I was forced to travel to Purulia’s Jhalda municipality. A Congress councillor, Tapan Kandu, was killed the night before. He was killed because Congress was going to form the board in the municipality,” Chowdhury said in Bengali in the Lok Sabha addressing Speaker Om Birla, amid chants of “Thief, Adhir” and “Killer Adhir” from the Trinamul benches, while the Congress interim president and MP Sonia Gandhi was seen tapping the desk.
Kandu, 49, was killed on Sunday evening, around the same time when Anupam Dutta, a Trinamul councillor in North 24-Parganas Panihati municipality was murdered, while strolling with his wife.
Jhalda threw up a hung board with both the Congress and the Trinamul winning five wards, while two went to independents. Purulia Congress leader Nepal Mahata, who had actively campaigned in the civic polls in Jhalda was confident of forming the board with the support of independents. Kandu’s murder has upset the Congress plan amid allegations that ruling Trinamul’s local leaders had the motive to eliminate the councillor.
The issue of political violence, raised by the Congress in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, was a throwback to the last term of the Left Front government when murders of CPM workers and Maoists were a daily happening. It was a time when Mamata Banerjee, the then face of the Opposition in Bengal, used to demand the imposition of President's Rule in Bengal almost on a daily basis.
The Bengal Congress president did not take matters that far as he used the word "anarchy" to describe the law and order situation in Bengal.
“Free and fair elections cannot be held in Bengal. There was terror on polling day and post-poll violence, a result of the nexus between the ruling party and a section of the police. There is an anarchic situation prevailing in Bengal. A student-activist, Anis Khan, was recently murdered by the police,” said Adhir. “I demand a court-monitored CBI probe into the murder, I demand the national human rights commission and the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe commission to probe the murder,” he said.
While Adhir was in Jhalda yesterday, Congress leaders Abdil Mannan, Amitabha Chakraborty and Santosh Pathak, also a councillor in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, were scheduled to visit Jhalda on Tuesday.
The family members of Anis Khan, who was killed on the night of February 18, along with the CPM, Congress and the Indian Secular Front made apparent their lack of confidence in the government-appointed special investigation team of the CID to probe the murder.
Dutta, the slain Trinamul councillor, was among the few voices in the Panihati municipal area to speak against the land mafia.
A section of the Trinamul Congress leaders said pinning the murders on the ruling party and accusing it of promoting violence to silence Opposition voice was a BJP ploy to destabilise the state.
“The BJP is determined to take control of Bengal by any means. By raising these issues in Parliament, Adhir Chowdhury is helping the BJP,” said a Trinamul leader.
In the 294-member Bengal Assembly, neither the Congress nor any of the Left parties have any representation since last year’s elections. Electorally, the BJP remains the main Opposition with 70 MLAs, though it had won 77 seats.