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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

TMC tribal face after 'atonement' ritual row

Trinamul release cited Snehalata Hembram as new district president of Trinamul Mahila Congress in district

Avijit Sinha, Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Siliguri/Calcutta Published 10.04.23, 04:59 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Trinamul leadership replaced the district president of the party’s women’s wing in South Dinajpur with a tribal face on Sunday in what looks like damage control after the row over an "atonement ritual".

On Sunday, Trinamul named Snehalata Hembram as the new district president of its district Mahila Congress. She replaced Pradipta Chakraborty, who had taken credit to bring back four tribal women to the party a day after they deserted Trinamul for the BJP last Thursday.

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A video clip of Martina Kisku, Shiuli Mardi, Thakran Soren and Malati Murmu performing an atonement ritual on a street in Balurghat on Friday surfaced on social media. Reportedly, these tribal women were performing this ritual to atone for joining the BJP the day before.

The ritual was performed over 1km en route to the district Trinamul office where Chakraborty handed over party flags to the four.

The BJP and other Opposition parties slammed Trinamul for "forcing" the tribal women to "atone" for joining the BJP. But Chakraborty and Kisku said no one was forced.

On Hembram replacing Chakraborty, political observers said as the rural polls were ahead, Trinamul didn’t want to antagonise the tribal population. The 2011 census says tribals comprise around 6 per cent of Bengal's total population. In South Dinajpur, the figure is around 17 per cent.

On Sunday, Mrinal Sarkar, the Trinamul district president, said Chakraborty had been barred from party events for now.

Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the Opposition, posted two videos on Sunday to apparently highlight the contrasting scenarios of tribal women, one of President Droupadi Murmu taking a sortie in a fighter jet, and the other of the four women dragging themselves on the street in the atonement ritual.

In a following post, he urged Harsh Chouhan, who chairs the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, to take cognisance of the issue under the Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

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