The Return of the Hoodlum Years

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The Background

Pit Kaizar against Arabul; Jahangir against Showkat; Anarul against Bhadu Sheikh; Tawha against Nawsad – ruling parties want minorities to fight against each other and bank on it ad nauseam.

Erase Sitalkuchi from your memory, erase the murder of Anish Khan from your memory and erase the death of Tuhina Khatun from your memory too. After all, murders are minor episodes; why should you bother about these aberrations? Be a bootlicker or should we say sandal licker, visit book fair, go to coffee house, advertise whatever book you have written on the plight of Muslims of Bengal or sell your autobiography, so to say, and utter not a word for the atrocities unleashed.

Those, who ought to be in prison, are out; those, who ought to be out, are in. This has precisely happened on 21st January. Members and workers of Indian Secular Front from Bhangor were coming to Kolkata for a rally. It was the foundation day of their party. A party, which is registered by the Election Commission of India, has called a mass meeting at the heart of Kolkata. All the formalities were completed; authorities apprised. It was but natural for the supporters to throng the rally. But the ruling party hoodlums, thought it otherwise. To them, it was unnatural. They obstructed the road and thrashed the supporters and pelted stones. Nawsad Siddiqui, the chairman of the party and elected member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly from that constituency rushed to the spot to rescue the supporters. He too was attacked; his car ransacked. Meanwhile, the meeting went on in Kolkata. The injured Chairman along with many other wounded party supporters reached the venue at around 2.30 pm. When he finished his short speech narrating the horrific incident, he gave a call to his party supporters to walk to the Chowringhee crossings and peacefully sit there. The demand was simple: arrest those hoodlums. Eyewitnesses affirmed there were no provocative slogans or innuendos, whatsoever. But police resorted to lathicharge after a while. They charged down the road and lathis rained on the crowd. Moments later, sounds of tear gas shells were heard and the area turned into a chocking field.

The MLA and some of the activists were violently taken into the waiting police vans. Nawsad was dragged and hauled in. All of them are crammed in prison, some in police custody and some in jail custody. They are charged under various criminal charges listed in the penal code. And also the technique, hang-dog story is out there. It is as old as pre-history. Give the dog a bad name.

Panchayet election is round the corner. Given the voluminous corruption compiled by the ruling party, with leaders marching into the jail in droves, public fumes. Trinamool Congress feels the pulse of the people quite well; its citadel in the country side has been considerably cracked. The Left is making a comeback and Indian Secular Front too making inroads. The Adivasis, Dalits, SC, STs, the minorities are finding a new voice. Hence, the vengeance; character assassination; slandering.

In the meantime, the ruling party had assigned a heavy-weight minister to speak over the issue, who himself was arrested in the Narada sting operation. What a joke!

But we are more concerned about the sinister designs of the present regime. Democracy goes for a toss; autocracy marches triumphantly. The hoodlum years are back. But the intelligentsia sleeps, still rejoicing the landslide victory of Mamata Bandopadhyay, who according to them had stopped the victory chariot of Modi-Shah two years back. Let us remind them that TMC came out of the womb of RSS-BJP. The bonhomie between RSS and TMC is intact.

We cannot but forget the somewhat prophetic saying of the great writer Eduardo Galeano – “My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia.” Indeed, amnesia has creeped in into the minds of our intelligentsia.

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