A usual scene, post afternoon siesta, in any part of Bengal would be a group of people (that could range from a group a retired grey-haired men to college goers) discussing politics. An intellectual discussion about the political scenario forms a part of the staple diet of the Bengalis. A list of factors contribute to this practice that has been continuing from generation to generation.
West Bengal holds the record for having governed by one single party, The Left Front, for the longest period of time in any Indian state. Obviously things heated up a little when The Trinamool Congress headed by Mamata Banerjee won the 2011 Assembly Elections, making her the first woman Chief Minister of the state after more than thirty years of Communist rule.
From the very beginning, this new government of West Bengal, has been plagued with controversies. The Sharada and Narada Scams being the most popular ones. The opponents, obviously, did not miss a chance to target the party and furthermore, seek action against those involved in the scams.
WHY THE PROTEST HAPPENED IN THE VERY FIRST PLACE?
Recently, the opponent, the Left Front, conducted a march towards Nabanna, the State Secretariat. The protest, organised by the Left Front MLAs, consisted of 11 Left Organisations. They marched towards the State Secretariat demanding for eighteen points that include attack against democracy, unemployment and lawlessness in the State. Another important demand by the Left Organisations include demanding the arrest of the Trinamool politicians who were involved in the Narada Scam.
WHAT IS THE NARADA SCAM?
The Narada scam or the Narada tapes, as conducted by Narada News (hence the name) to uncover corruption in the State, was the brainchild of the Managing Director of Narada Media Pvt. Ltd., Matthew Samuel. The tapes leaked just before the 2016 State Elections, reveal the alleged acceptance of bribery by TMC leaders. Samuel claims that they have seventy-three lakhs in bribes.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED DURING THE PROTEST?
Almost 100 activists and more than 70 police were injured during the protests. What made things worse was that journalists who were reporting the protest were injured in lathicharge by the police. Clashes between the police and activists took place in five different parts of the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. The police had barricaded a few roads, the activists then broke open these barricades with branches of trees and bamboo staffs. This ultimately led to the war-like situation that led to the police to retaliate with lathi charge and tear gas spraying.
POST CLASH SCENE IN BENGAL
217 people that include 24 Left activists and 11 Left MLAs have been arrested for breaching Section 144 of CRPC that was in force around the secretariat.
The oppositions alleged that the Police acted on the Chief Minister’s instructions. On the other hand, the Trinamool Congress says it was nothing but a mere try by the CPI-M to seek attention. Whether this was a planned affair or an act to seek attention, only time would tell.