‘Won’t Get Into Politics Again’: Year After Post-Poll Violence in Bengal, Victims Struggle to Rebuild Life


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From a war of words between parties to the court and CBI, post-poll violence dominated Bengal’s political landscape for a year post the assembly elections which saw the Trinamool Congress return to power with a landslide victory.

A year after violence marred the state, News18 met some victims in Cooch Behar’s Mathabhanga to find out how their lives had changed.

For 42-year-old Khokon Das, all that remains of his bustling stationery shop in war number one of the town is broken furniture and remnants of a weighing machine.

A BJP supporter, Das attended a few meetings of the party. On May 4 last year, when the BJP lost the elections in the state, Das says his home and shop were attacked, forcing him to flee with his family.

Das added that 14 days later, when Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar visited Mathabhanga, he too returned home. The governor spoke to him about his vandalised shop and the 42-year-old lodged an FIR along with several others but life has not been the same for the family.

Khokon Das, who has been unable to restart his shop after the attack, said they came back after the violence and filed cases with the police but nothing has happened. (News18)

Das has been unable to restart his shop. Speaking to News18, he said: “Nobody has helped us; neither the state, nor the central government. We don’t even have food to eat. How will we live? We came back after the violence and filed cases with the police but nothing has happened. It was a mistake to get into politics. I will never get into politics now, never ever.”

Das is not alone. Kalyani Das and her husband Bipul Das have the same story to share in the locality. The couple, who were BJP supporters, say all their furniture was broken when their house was attacked. While Bipul managed to get a job as a labourer outside Bengal, Kalyani stays with her children in the locality.

Speaking to News18, Kalyani said: “We will not get into ‘jhamela’ (problematic) politics any more. My husband is outside. An FIR was lodged but nothing happened. Nobody came to save us. We are still scared about what to do. More than 100 families have faced the same situation.”

In Mathabhanga municipality, where BJP won, several houses bear the scars of post-poll violence as well as the reality that the victims here are on their own when it comes to rebuilding their lives.

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