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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

South Dinajpur: Tribal organisation calls for strike over atonement

Political observers say even though TMC had made efforts to control the damage, disgruntlement persists within tribal community

Kousik Sen Raiganj Published 15.04.23, 05:28 AM
Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan leaders Bibhuti Tudu (left) and Mohan Hansda come out of the district magistrate’s office in Balurghat on Friday.

Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan leaders Bibhuti Tudu (left) and Mohan Hansda come out of the district magistrate’s office in Balurghat on Friday. Telegraph picture

A tribal organisation has called a 12-hour statewide strike on April 17 in protest against the atonement ritual of “dandi” which four adivasi women had to perform in South Dinajpur to get re-inducted into the Trinamul Congress.

Two leaders of the Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan reached the district magistrate’s office in Balurghat on Friday and informed the authorities in writing about the call for bandh on Monday.

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“So far, police have arrested two persons but no action has been taken against Pradipta Chakraborty, who forced these women to perform the ritual. We suspect the police are shielding her. The strike has been called to press for her immediate arrest,” said Bibhuti Tudu, vice-president of the north Bengal zone of the tribal outfit.

Last week, Pradipta, who was the district president of Trinamul’s women’s wing in South Dinajpur, made the quartet perform the ritual for deserting Trinamul and joining the BJP. After the ritual, she re-inducted them into Trinamul.

The Trinamul leadership later removed Pradipta from her post and brought in Snehalata Hembram, a tribal face. However, Pradipta is still continuing as the vice-chairperson of the Trinamul-run Balurghat municipality.

Mohan Hansda, the president of the north Bengal zone of the Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan, said it had requested other tribal organisations to support the strike.

“It was a blatant insult to the tribal community. We are not ready to relent unless the police arrest the key accused in the case. If no steps are taken, we will go for an intensified movement after the bandh,” Hansda said.

Political observers said even though Trinamul had made efforts to control the damage, disgruntlement persists within the tribal community. In South Dinajpur, adivasis make up around 17 per cent of the total population.

State BJP chief and Balurghat MP Sukanta Majumdar had sent a letter to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes about the incident. The commission asked the DGP on April 12 to submit a report within three days. Majumdar sent another letter to the commission, seeking Pradipta’s arrest.

In his letter, the BJP leader said no action had been taken against her.

“We have mentioned that she is still at large. Two persons have been arrested to protect her. The commission should take immediate steps,” he said.

The police had arrested two Trinamul workers on Thursday for their alleged involvement in the incident.

District Trinamul leaders, when told about the strike, said they would oppose it.

“We have requested the administration to takeinitiatives to make sure that life remains normal inour district and across the state as a whole. We don’t support the strike. The police are probing the case and have made two arrests,” said Mrinal Sarkar, the district Trinamul president.

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