2019 General Elections See a Whirlwind of Violence4 min read
With the 2019 General Elections complete, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power once more, bringing with it promises of future growth and development. Amidst this, the growing issue of violence and crime was little known − especially the kind that took place before, during and right after the election season.
The Manipal Journal takes a look at some major incidents of crime and violence that occurred during the General Elections.
Tripura: Soon after the election results were announced, there were reports of workers of the ruling BJP attacking their rival counterparts – Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and Congress. In a counterattack in Fatikcherra, Sadhan Debnath, an opposition worker, along with his two brothers, reportedly murdered Mithu Bhowmik, a BJP worker. Sanjib Laskar, a friend who was with Bhowmik during the time of the attack, was badly injured and has been admitted into the ICU.
Reports say that post-polling violence has led to as many as 123 workers (of BJP, CPM and Congress combined) being injured as a consequence. Congress alleged that as many as 76 of their workers have been injured and about 10 crore worth of assets have been damaged due to the violent activities by BJP workers.
“I have told the Deputy General of Police, senior police officials, and TSR commandants to conduct security drills in vulnerable areas to prevent post-poll violence”, said Tripura Chief Minister, Biplab Deb, in a Times of India (TOI) report.
Odisha: Sunjukta Digal, a poll official, was attacked by Maoists on her way to the polling booth. An explosive device had been set off in Kandhamal which targeted Digal’s vehicle. Despite surviving the blast, she was later shot dead.
In another area of Kandhamal, Maoists set fire to a motorbike and two cars that were carrying election material. However, no one was injured.
In another incident in the district of Puri, bombs were hurled at the house of BJP’s Pipili Assembly candidate, Ashrit Patnaik, at Kamakantia on a late Friday night. However, he and his family escaped unhurt. Sources said that three men arrived on bikes, threw the bombs at the house and then fled the scene.
West Bengal: A day after the election results were declared, violence erupted in different parts of West Bengal including the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat. Clashes were reported in Kankinara, where a number of shops were set on fire. A Trinamool Party office was attacked at Naihati and several motorcycles were set on fire.
There were reports of violence at Raidighi Assembly seat (under Mathurapur Lok Sabha seat) and Deganga Assembly seat (under Barasat Lok Sabha seat) where crude bombs were hurled at both places, resulting in security forces being deployed to help contain the situation. In Newtown, also under the Barasat Lok Sabha seat, crude bombs were found in two plastic containers and the bomb disposal squad was called to diffuse them.
Madhya Pradesh: In the Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, some self-proclaimed cow vigilantes allegedly beat up three Muslims, including a woman, over suspicions that they were carrying beef. The victims said that they were forced to shout “Jai Shree Ram” slogans. The incident came to light after a video went viral on May 23, the day of election results, where a group of people are seen beating the victims with sticks. The police have registered an official case and arrested two people for selling the meat to the victims and the victims themselves for transporting the meat with samples of the meat being sent to a laboratory in Haryana for forensic analysis. The five people who were accused of beating the victims were arrested after the video went viral online.
Gujarat: Pravin Mackwana, a Dalit man living in Mahuvad village in Padra taluka of Vadodara had reportedly put up a Facebook post saying that the Government does not allow the usage of the village temple for Dalit wedding ceremonies. In response to that, a mob of 200-300 upper caste people attacked his house and family. A complaint was registered on May 23, the day of the counting. His wife, Tarulataben Mackwana, complained to the Vadu Police Station and had an FIR registered against 11 people and the mob of 200-300 people for attacking her house, pelting stones and thrashing her husband because of his Facebook post.
Patna: When it was certain that BJP leader Giriraj Singh would be winning from Begusarai against his rival, Kanhaiya Kumar from Communist Party of India (CPI), supporters of the former burst firecrackers outside CPI office which eventually lead to clashes between the workers of the two parties. According to a report by TOI, police officials said that the two sides pelted stones and brutally attacked one another.
Edited by: Nayantara Jacob
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