Sandeshkhali of West Bengal Brought Shame: Women and Scheduled Caste People Also Suffered

 Recent news about Sandeshkhali has greatly shocked me as I am a senior citizen and have travelled widely across India and many countries for academic activities. On many occasions, for official purposes and personal reasons, I visited West Bengal. Yes, in many respects, culturally, people are advanced in West Bengal, but for me, it looks like every step there is politics.  Since I am not from that State, I am not acquainted with politics at every step. I wish to mention a few lines about Sandeshkhali. It is a village in the Sandeshkhali II CD block in the Basirhat subdivision of the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. A large section of the area is a part of the Sundarbans settlements. Around 13 percent of the population lives in urban areas, and 87 percent lives in rural areas.

Anyway, from electronic, social, and print media, it is evident that the villagers of Sandeshkhali are very upset with the administration and have lost faith in the police and administration. So, the villagers, including ladies, have been protesting by coming out of their homes. Many have complained that powerful local political goons have forcefully taken away their agricultural lands. The most shocking news is that at midnight, girls and some ladies were called in the name of the meeting, and one can understand what had happened to them. In this regard, I am quoting from the website, dt. February 12, 2024. “Representatives of the State Women's Commission went to Sandeshkhali. Leena Gangopadhyay, Chairperson of the State Women's Commission, said, "They have come to speak because of allegations of oppression against women." On this day, local women spoke to the representatives of the Women's Commission. The meeting was called at twelve o'clock at night. If the women did not go, the members of the house were beaten on the forehead. The women of Sandeshkhali are making terrible allegations of unspeakable atrocities against Trinamool leader Shibu Hazra and suspended Trinamool leader Uttam Sardar.”

Another point in addition to harassing women, Scheduled Caste (SC) people were also harassed.  Regarding the harassing of SC people, I wish to quote dt. February 15, 2024, “National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman Arun Halder said that people of Sandeshkhali shared their 'harrowing experience' with members of the panel who visited the place in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Thursday (15/2/24). Sandeshkhali has been witnessing protests over alleged atrocities on locals by ruling TMC leaders.”

 If such horrible incidents continue, then shame on such government administration. The most deplorable case is that the ED official was beaten, and the main culprit is a powerful man who is still ‘absconding.’ My question is, how can goons get the courage to beat any government official? 

Anyway, Indians should be careful because what has been happening in West Bengal should not happen in other parts of the country, so the present ruling party should not be an important factor in forming the Union Ministry in the future; otherwise, Indians will probably awfully suffer. In addition, there are issues in the State, like Corruption in the jobs and fair price shops, cow smuggling, coal and sand scandals, unprecedented violence during panchayat elections, etc., which are the testimony of a 'failed administration.' I have observed on TV channels that the local party leaders' spokespersons (the party in power in the State)  refer to corruption, anomalies, etc, in BIMARU states and Manipur. My hunt is that one should rectify his or her fault, so it should not be compared with others’ fault.

According to me, the best Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. B.C. Roy took huge initiatives for the industrial development of the State. As a sequel, many industries were set up, and many youths got employment, per capita income was high. After that, we learned about industrial development and other developments in the state. In simple language and layman's point of view, all have been scaling down. It is pertinent to mention that the only son of the communist CM is now a great businessman abroad.

Now, with the low level of economic and industrial development and the high migration of labourers from the State to other States, even for education purposes, many migrate from the State to other States. These are some glaring examples of the present status of the State. Once upon a time, Bengal produced top leaders in the freedom movement, politics, religious fields, education, science, arts and crafts, culture, games and sports, etc.; now the State is the news for corruption and other negative incidents.

Praying to Almighty God /Mata to save the State from the clutches of the awful elements so that the State regains its glory in the future. 

Prof Shankar Chatterjee  

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