IT IS ELECTION season in West Bengal and bloodshed was forecast. But even the state’s most cynical observers would not have expected bombs being hurled at a minister, that too at a heavily guarded railway station. Jakir Hossain, the minister of state for labour, was going to Kolkata from the Nimtita railway station in Murshidabad, on February 17, when the crude bombs exploded. Twelve of his associates were also injured; they are all at the SSKM hospital in Kolkata.
Hossain is now stable. The state polity is not. Said Abu Taher, the Trinamool Congress district president in Murshidabad, where the incident took place: “If they want this to be the model of the election, let it be. We are ready.”
Mohammed Asif Khan, a trader in Domkal, Murshidabad, said, “I fail to understand why they (the Trinamool and the Congress) fight each other. Ultimately, the BJP would gain the most. I would not be shocked if it wins at least six seats (of 22) in Muslim-dominated Murshidabad.”
If violence begets violence, the common Bengali has the most to worry about. If a minister is not spared, how can a commoner sleep in peace?
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has submitted a detailed report to the Union home ministry regarding three recent incidents. “[It is a] worrisome law and order situation,” he said. “It needs to be addressed urgently.”
A few days before the attack, Firoz Kamal Gazi, a BJP leader from North 24 Parganas, was returning from a public meeting in Basirhat when some goons fired at his car and threw bombs. He was hospitalised with shrapnel injuries.
The following day, on February 16, Moidul Islam Midya, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker, died in a private hospital in Kolkata after fighting for his life for five days. The youth activist from Bankura had participated in a Congress-left protest rally in Kolkata, where he was allegedly injured in police action.
CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty called it a murder in broad daylight. “They showed no mercy and never tried to disperse the mob,” he said. “The police selected boys and girls of our parties one by one and hit them intentionally.”
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