Talking amid turbulence
THE WEEK|March 07, 2021
Even as violence mars the state elections, the Congress-left combine tries to stitch up a grand alliance with Abbas Siddiqui’s ISF
RABI BANERJEE

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.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE WEEKView All

SAFFRON ON RED

Can left veteran Ashok Bhattacharya overcome the BJP’s surge in Siliguri?

5 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

There is a pattern to the attack on Central forces in Bengal

Sunil Arora, who demitted office on April 12, chose THE WEEK for his last interview as chief election commissioner. He said he was anguished over the constant attacks the commission faced, especially from the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He also said that the attacks on Central forces in West Bengal was worrying and had a pattern.

4 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

INDIA ON GUARD

THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 CAUGHT US LACKING AND SLACKING. REINING IN A RESURGENT VIRUS WOULD NEED BETTER ADHERENCE TO SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND A MORE NUANCED APPROACH TO VACCINATION

9 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

No value in vaccinating everyone at this stage

The second wave hit India despite the vaccine rollout. And, vaccinated people are now getting infected. The vaccine was never expected to stop any wave, second or otherwise. All the Covid-19 vaccines available in the world right now have this handicap, that they cannot stop transmission of the virus. This is unlike the vaccines for polio or smallpox, which can interrupt transmission and thereby eradicate the disease eventually.

2 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

Fit for the future

DRDO labs are being closed or merged to prevent duplication and to focus on futuristic technologies

6 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

BRINGING MANHAS HOME

THE WEEK brings you the inside story of how a nonagenarian social worker, a tribal leader and a group of local journalists secured the safe release of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a CoBRA commando captured by the Maoists of Bastar

10+ mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

Fighting our people

CoBRA is burdened by law, which demands that it upholds the Constitutional and human rights of civilians. Naxals have no such burden

5 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

Fallen star

With K.T. Jaleel forced to step down as minister, the Pinarayi Vijayan government suffers a big blow at the fag end of its term

4 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

Due procedure followed in case against activists

THE 2020 DELHI riots, which claimed 53 lives, the farmers’ protest at the Red Fort and the arrest of activist Disha Ravi on sedition charges have all taken place during S.N. Shrivastava’s tenure as commissioner of Delhi Police. He spoke to THE WEEK about the status of investigations in these cases, monitoring social media and terror threats to the capital. Excerpts:

4 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021

Booster shot

Picking up the pace of vaccinations is not only a health and welfare concern, but also key for India’s economic prospects

4 mins read
THE WEEK
April 25, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Fear of a Digital Dollar

Central bankers are looking at virtual currencies that could work without banks

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 29 - April 05, 2021

CONGRESS TO PRESS BIG TECH CEOS OVER SPEECH, MISINFORMATION

The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google face a new grilling by Congress Thursday, one focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence.

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #491

JOSH HAWLEY'S TOXIC POPULISM

IS THE SENATOR’S AUTHORITARIAN GRANDSTANDING THE DARK FUTURE OF THE GOP?

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
April 2021

BRINGING EARMARKS BACK WON'T FIX CONGRESS

ELIMINATING EARMARKS DIDN’T MAKE THE GOVERNMENT SMALLER. BUT REINSTATING THEM WOULD FACILITATE LEGISLATIVE CORRUPTION.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
April 2021

Why We (Still) Shouldn't Censor Misinformation

Trump’s loss in 2020, a majority of his supporters believed the election had been rigged. Some adopted wild conspiracy theories involving Chinese supercomputers, Hugo Chavez, and state-level Republican officials. These beliefs culminated in an attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead. To make sense of these events, many officials have argued that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allowed conspiracy theories to spread unimpeded, leading to erroneous beliefs and deadly behaviors. In other words, they blame misinformation for the violence.

6 mins read
Reason magazine
April 2021

Federal Debt: A Heavy Load

The debt continues to grow, but record-low interest rates could ease the long-term damage.

3 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
February 2021

HOW FREDERICK DOUGLASS DESTROYED JOHN C.CALHOUN WITH THE POWER OF JOHN LOCKE

ARMED WITH THE CONSTITUTION, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THE FAR- REACHING GUARANTEES OF LIBERTY AND EQUALITY THAT THEY CONTAINED, DOUGLASS TOOK THE FIGHT DIRECTLY TO THE SLAVEHOLDERS.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
December 2020

Pack the Supreme Court, Or Strip Its Powers?

A proposal to restrict the court’s authority over certain laws stirs interest on the left

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
October 12 - 19, 2020

The Case Against Trump | Donald Trump Is an Enemy of Freedom

WHEN IT COMES TO LIMITING THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT AND PROTECTING INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES, AMERICA’S 45TH PRESIDENT HAS BEEN ACTIVELY MALIGN.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
November 2020

MEAT BILLS ARE ON THE MENU IN CONGRESS

AMERICA’S MEAT SUPPLY has been hammered by COVID-19 outbreaks at many of the nation’s largest meat processing plants, and consumer meat prices have spiked as a result.

3 mins read
Reason magazine
November 2020