Bhangar: Continuing Struggle


The struggle of the people of Bhangar of North 24-Paraganas against forcible installation of power grid was reported from time to time in the pages of Frontier. What has happened over the past one month is no less revealing because it has laid bare the unholy police-TMC alliance once again, as well as the real role of this alliance in preventing other forces from contesting the panchyet polls. The people who are participants in the movement decided this year to contest the polls from the Polerhat Gram Panchyet and Bhangar 2 Block Panchyet Samity. On 6 April the candidates went to the Block Development Office to file their nominations. The policemen on duty allowed them to enter with one associate each. As they approached the particular room, they were surrounded by a large number of TMC hooligans who had patently been allowed to enter earlier. These hooligans severely beat up the candidates and prevented them from filing nominations. As they went to the police station to lodge a complaint, the police detained three persons who accompanied the complainants. They were Sankar Das, Biswajit Hazra and Amitabha Bhattarcharya. After detaining them for the whole of the night, the police arrested them next morning on a number of patently false charges. The episode was clearly an example of the unholy nexus between the ruling TMC and the police. Four days later a young doctor named Ratul Banerjee was arrested from his Belgharia (a place in the northern suburbs of Kolkata) residence for his alleged links with the movement.

A vigorous signature campaign started for securing Banerjee's release. The resolve of the people was not shaken. On 18 April, a well-attended convention was held at the initiative of Sramajibi Swasthya Udyog in Maha-bodhi Society Hall, where many doctors and representatives of Bhangar Solidarity Initiative were present. Next day, a procession of more than one thousand persons marched from Sealdah station to Dharmatala. Delegates leading the procession met the Home Secretary and handed over a memorandum demanding withdrawal of false cases and end of police and hooligan atrocities.


Vol. 50, No.43, Apr 29 - May 05, 2018