Thursday, September 4, 2014

The price of (right to) protest

Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district of (North) West Bengal is a beautiful place in a narrow tract of land sandwiched between Bhutan and Bangladesh. It is not far from the serene Jaldhaka river as it flows down from the Himalayas into the Dooars (plains). But all the serenity and natural beauty cannot hide the ugliness of mankind.

 
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Backstory: The victim and her family are tribal people who have been reliable voters for the Communists (CPI-M), currently in opposition. The power-brokers are aligned with the ruling Trinamool Congress led by a woman: Mamata Banerjee. The thugs apparently want to grab the land of the tribals, hence the kangaroo court. The man was asked to lick his own spit off the ground. His teenage daughter desperately tried to save him from being humiliated (and beaten up). In retaliation, she was raped and murdered in broad daylight.

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Political parties in India of all colors (affiliations) are always ready to shed copious crocodile tears on behalf of the poor. They each claim that they represent the sarbo-hara (the people who have nothing). In reality it is the poor who have to use all the tools that democracy gives them in order to claim for and fight for their rights. This can be the right of education for poor children in posh city schools (the law mandates up to 25%), the right to have a bank account (under the Jan Dhan Yojana instituted by the Govt)....and even the right to have a life with dignity.

India (and Indians) will have to learn how to ensure a life with dignity for all brothers and sisters. Part of that surely is the right to protest when the heavy boot of the local thug lands on your shoulder. Specifically, a daughter must be able to protect her father from public humiliation without getting killed.

The only reason the tribals of Dhupguri (not far from Naxal-bari) do not form a gang of their own and burn down the homes of the well-off (with the people inside) is that they are basically kind people. Even when buried under poverty and stress, they will not behead you and upload the video on the net. The elites should be grateful for this but not take things for granted. Else, the day of reckoning will surely come and the price in blood will be paid with full interest.
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(September 03- Wednesday)
The naked body of a girl, who tried to save her father from being beaten up at a village kangaroo court for failing to pay for a rented tractor, was found near the railway tracks at Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district, police said today.
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The 'Salishi Sabha' (self-appointed village court) was convened at Dhupguri on Monday night and the girl's body was found yesterday, Jalpaiguri Additional Superintendent of Police James Kujur said.
After identifying the body, the victim's father lodged an FIR against 13 persons at the Dhupguri Police Station for "rape, murder and kidnapping" of his daughter.

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Trouble began at the 'Sabha' when the farmer's request for some more time to make the payment was turned down, the police said adding local Trinamool Congress councillor Namita Roy and her husband were present at the meeting.
The girl rushed out of her house pleading with the villagers not to beat her father, but a person known to her took her away from the meeting and she went missing since then, the police said.

The councillor was not available for comment.

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District TMC president Sourav Chakrabarty, however, said the police were investigating the incident and there was no need to give "political color" to it.
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Jalpaiguri Superintendent of Police Kunal Agarwal and the ASP rushed to the spot last night. Kujur said the Government Railway Police would probe the matter as the girl's body was found near the rail tracks.
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Two persons were initially detained in this connection, but were released later. A juvenile, aged about 14-15 years, was apprehended today in connection with the incident, Superintendent Railway Police (Siliguri) Debashis Sarkar said.
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Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi assured a Left Front Parliamentary team during the day that he would seek a report from the state government on the incident. "We have expressed our concern about the incident and the Governor has said he will seek a report from the state administration on the incident," CPI(M) MLA Anisur Rehman said. 
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The Left Parliamentary team, which for the first time met Tripathi after he assumed office, also expressed deep anguish over the "lawless" situation in the state. A delegation of the LF women's wing also met Tripathi and complained about rising incidents of rape and molestation in the state. SFI and DYFI, the student and youth wings of the CPI(M), observed a students strike and 'Black Day' in Dhupguri block today demanding punishment of the culprits and also put up road blockades on NH 31.
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BJP activists had staged a demonstration in front of the Dhupguri Police Station yesterday, the police said.

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Link: http://www.outlookindia.com/news/printitem.aspx?858186

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regards