2021 West Bengal post-poll violence

political riots in West Bengal, India

Violence in the aftermath of the 2021 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, which the ruling Trinamool Congress won for a third consecutive term.


  • “The main modus operandi of the TMC is to debilitate political opponents by targeting their bodies, economic resources and their psychological wellbeing. This involves physical and sexual attacks, destruction of living spaces, property and means of production however small they are.”... “Women have been singled out for most horrific terror and intimidation. Our data reveals many incidents of grievous bodily harm, threat of rape, stripping and sexual violence. The streets were sites of dehumanization of women of all ages. The horror is compounded by most of the victims being from marginal SC-ST communities or from Below Poverty Line (BPL) and extremely fragile economic sections in West Bengal.”
    • Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) Report, 30 May, 2021, The report has been authored by Monika Arora, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court, Prof. Vijita Singh Aggarwal, Professor, GGS IPU, Ms. Sonali Chitalkar, Assistant Professor, Delhi University, Dr. Shruti Mishra, Assistant Professor, Delhi University and Ms. Monicca Agarwaal. [1] [2] [3]
  • In the state of West Bengal, no one is safe other than those who are associated with the Trinamool Congress. General public live in the fear of those in power, opposition party cadres are murdered with impunity, and even elected people’s representatives are not safe if they belong to the Opposition. In the past few years, over 150 BJP karyakartas have been murdered by TMC goons, including the Hemtabad BJP MLA; not one of the murderers have been brought to justice. In 2017, West Bengal police shot dead 11 Gorkha youths, not a single inquiry has been conducted to ascertain the need for firing upon unarmed civilians who were demonstrating peacefully. As recently as 7 December 2020, West Bengal police fired upon a BJP rally in Siliguri and killed Ulen Roy, one of our karyakartas; and in the past 24-hours alone, close to 10 BJP karyakartas have been murdered, those who volunteered for BJP raped, their homes burned down and their businesses looted. Today, everyone is witnessing the sheer terrorism unleashed by TMC-affiliated goons across the state, and yet, many are trying to cover for and justify the violence.
    • Stop Normalising Political Terrorism In West Bengal by Raju Bista - May 4, 2021 [4]
  • Alarming situation in Nanoor (Birbhum district) with more than a thousand Hindu families out in the fields to escape marauding mobs seeking to take it out against BJP supporters. Reports of molestation or worse of women. @AmitShah please rush some security to the area.
    • Swapan Dasgupta, — Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) May 3, 2021 [5] [6] [7]
  • There is a feeling of helplessness when you receive desperate calls from BJP supporters in Tarakeshwar whose houses are being smashed by goons as political retribution. The police have retreated into the thanas & it is free for all. Is there any rule of law & democracy in Bengal?
    • Swapan Dasgupta, — May 4, 2021· [8]
  • PM called and expressed his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law & order situation @MamataOfficial
    I share grave concerns @PMOIndia given that violence vandalism, arson. loot and killings continue unabated.
    Concerned must act in overdrive to restore order.
    • — Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) May 4, 2021 [9] [10]
  • If your vote becomes a cause of your death or property destruction, if it leads to arson, then that signals the end of democracy.
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar,May 10, 2021 [11]
  • People have left their houses and are living in jungles. Women tell me that they (goons) will come there once again and there is such failure of security before the Governor. I'm shocked at it. I can imagine what the people here must be going through... This is a total collapse of rule of law. I could have never imagined this. I have seen the fear of Police in the eyes of the people, they are scared to go to Police, their houses were looted. I'm really shocked, this is the destruction of democracy.
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, May, 2021 [12]
  • Unimaginable post poll violence @MamataOfficial. Terrified people with difficulty and fear @WBPolice and reprisals at hands of ruling party workers narrate indescribable woes of horror Appeal CM to take urgent steps to restore their confidence in the worst post poll violence. pic.twitter.com/nh8J2f5hFp
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, May, 2021 — Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) May 15, 2021 [13] [14]
  • I have never imagined that I will see such heart-wrenching violence in Bengal. Lakhs of people fled from their respective villages out of fear. Several houses were bombed, people killed, women were raped because they fearlessly voted while maintaining the decorum of our Constitution. India has never seen Bengal like post-poll violence before... I would like to appeal to our Chief Minister that it is high time she should take note of the law and order situation as millions of people are suffering. They are sitting on a volcano. I do hope that she will attend to the situation... Nothing can be more shameful for us than people of West Bengal taking shelter in other states,” [Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said while visiting a camp at Agomoni area of Dhubri in Assam, where people from West Bengal have been camping post-poll violence.... Dhankar was distraught by the “tales of sorrow” which he said, “left no tears in his eyes”.] Never imagined severity of post poll retributive violence@MamataOfficial was much beyond. One is made to pay with life and rights for voting!... History will judge the bureaucracy of West Bengal, police and administration… This is such an issue, where nobody has the right to play politics.
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, May, 2021 [15]
  • All day witnessed such tales of sorrow, grief and horror as victim after victim narrated horrendous post poll retributive violence incidents @MamataOfficial. Helpless victims in crossfire of police @WBPolice and ruling party workers. Will endeavor to deliberate with CM.
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, May, 2021 — Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) May 13, 2021 [16] [17]
  • Too many disturbing pics and videos coming out. Hope peace prevails and sanity returns.
    • — Deep Halder (@deepscribble) May 4, 2021 India Today executive editor Deep Halder [18] [19]
  • But by the time West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to brief him on the deteriorating law and order situation in West Bengal in July 2020, much water had flown under the Second Hooghly Bridge and many lives scratched out in Bengal. On social media, Dhankhar said Opposition leaders were hunted by ‘partisan police acting as political workers’. ‘Given enormity of decline in law and order have urged CM @MamataOfficial to urgently brief me. This as …political leaders and opposition MPs and MLAs being virtually hunted out of public space by partisan police acting as political workers. This cannot be allowed in democracy,’ Dhankhar tweeted on 23 July 2020. The governor said it was a ‘grim situation’, an ‘alarming decline’ and a ‘worrisome spectacle’. ‘We cannot afford to have a police that does not act in accordance with law but acts in a partisan manner like a political worker of the ruling party,’ he said. A report in The Hindu on 9 January 2020 said: ‘West Bengal reported the maximum number of political murders in 2018, says a report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The number of murders due to “political reason” in West Bengal stood at 12, followed by nine in Bihar and seven in Maharashtra. In all, 54 political murders were reported in the country in 2018. In 2017, the number of such cases stood at 98. The data are not in consonance with an advisory sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the West Bengal government last year. In an advisory sent on June 15, the MHA had said political violence in West Bengal had claimed 96 lives and that the “unabated violence” over the years was a matter of deep concern.’
    • HALDER, DEEP. 2021. BENGAL 2021: an election diary. [S.l.]: HARPERCOLLINS INDIA.
  • But Bengal has had a history of political violence. Has it become worse? Kolkata-based journalist Jaideep Mazumdar says it has. ‘Political violence in Bengal has always been high. Violence against women has also been so. That is because of politicization of the police force, right since the reign of Siddhartha Shankar Ray (chief minister of West Bengal, 1972–77). The CPM, being a cadre-based party, managed it well. There would be horrific incidents but the party’s local committee secretaries would ensure that the chaos was somehow managed. The problem with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is, it is disorganized and faction ridden. Hence Bengal is worse off now.’
    • HALDER, DEEP. 2021. BENGAL 2021: an election diary. [S.l.]: HARPERCOLLINS INDIA.
  • Uncontrolled statewide violence in West Bengal is pre-planned and the police and administration seem to have been told to keep ignoring it. The judicious citizens of West Bengal have been handed over to the rioters. All this reminds me of the direct action of the Muslim League....
    • VHP working president Alok Kumar, 05.2021, [20] [21]
  • Mamata doesn’t care. In the last 10 years, so many women have been raped in West Bengal…in 2012, when the Park Street gang rape happened, Mamata and TMC insinuated that the victim was a prostitute by saying ‘there was a disagreement with customers because of which she was raped’. Mamata Banerjee never felt for any woman. She is a woman in name only, she is a curse on womanhood.
    • Smt. Rakhi Mitra, Secretary of the BJP Mahila Morcha in WB, 05.2021, [22]
  • With heavy heart, met the family of our Karyakarta, Shri Abhijeet Sarkar who was brutally killed in post-poll violence in Beliaghata, Kolkata. We will fight this ideological battle with cruel TMC in a democratic manner. We are rigidly standing with our Karyakartas. pic.twitter.com/o7XjjHyXNI
    • — Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) May 4, 2021 [23] [24]
  • The Hindu community in West Bengal is scarred for life, and the state administration is sitting with its eyes closed... Over a dozen people have lost their lives. Countless houses, shops, temples, colonies, and business establishments have been destroyed in the state... Any inaction from the current government and political leadership is equal to instigating violence. In such case, Hindus have the right to take any action to save themselves, and we will use the right.
    • Milind Parande, Secretary-General Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), May 2021, [25]
  • Political Violence of Mamata Banerjee. Our Chhatra Parishad activists Mir Sahin attacked by TMC goons, they assaults & beaten his family very badly (Children to Women), vandalised everything in his home. In which jungle raj we are living under the regime of Mamata Banerjee?
    • — Sourav Prosad (@SouravProsad1) May 3, 2021 [26]
  • I want to request everyone keep the focus on Bengal violence and pressurise the government to stop the genocide. Whole focus has gone to the suspension (of my Twitter account). It does not matter I can come via many platforms, let’s not make it about that... Let us not change the narrative from the people who need us now to someone like me, who is privileged enough to come via prime-time shows or best-selling dailies.
    • Kangana Ranaut, Twitter May 2021, [27]
  • I am a Sanatani Hindu and I am willing to sacrifice my life to serve my Dharma.... My party is ready to carry on the fight democratically. But this kind of revenge politics, 9 people have been murdered already, houses are being destroyed, bombs are being hurled, the police is absent. If it carries on like this, has West Bengal separated from the Union of India? Pakistan has already been created?... Where are those who speak of secularism? Can they not see the atrocities being committed?” “I have told the party, if we cannot protect our people, then what right do we have to remain elected representatives?
    • — Arjun Singh (@ArjunsinghWB) May 4, 2021 [28] [29]
  • In a sad development 300-400 @BJP4Bengal karyakartas and family members have crossed over to Dhubri in Assam after confronted with brazen persecution & violence. We’re giving shelter & food. @MamataOfficial Didi must stop this ugly dance of demonocracy! Bengal deserves better.
    • — Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 4, 2021 [30] [31] [32]
  • Tragic exodus of people from Bengal continues! Over 450 people, who crossed over fearing ruthless oppression in Bengal, are put up in 2 shelters in Dhubri. They’re are getting relief, & also being tested for #COVID19@MamataOfficial Didi is fueling miseries of people. Shameful!
    • — Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 5, 2021 [33] [34]
  • Burning Bengal. As if to reassert might of an abhorring demonocracy led by @MamataOfficial, persecution of innocent by @AITCofficial continue. 21 people including an injured Dhiren Saha (45), facing threats of lives, arrived in Srirampur from Cooch Behar around 5 pm. pic.twitter.com/2iogef75N4
    • — Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 5, 2021 [35] [36]
  • Yesterday I extended my visit to Kolkata for a day but state Gov. Didn’t want me to, so they sent this message to me as if I was here for a pleasure trip. In this 2 days trip met many women, saw so much pain in their eyes and recorded horrible stories. #WestBengalViolence pic.twitter.com/joxqMwXSPx
    • National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma, — Rekha Sharma (@sharmarekha) May 6, 2021 [37] [38]
  • The team received information about many stranded victims, who left their homes because of violence, are currently forced to stay in a shelter home. The team was informed by the victims that they were physically assaulted and their homes were vandalised and set ablaze by TMC goons.”... “The complainants told the team that they have been receiving rape and threat calls every day. The women also said that they are not being provided with any protection by the police or state authorities. The women said that they have left the elderly in their homes and are worried about their safety.”... “There is no effective rehabilitation scheme for women in distress and women are unaware of the welfare schemes launched for them by the central government. There is a need for conducting awareness programmes about schemes of central government at the district level.
    • National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma, May, 2021 [39] [40]
  • The way incidents have happened here after May 2 is worrisome. For the first time since 1947, rapes, murders are happening with no state protection. The most affected have been people from Scheduled Castes .
  • The reports of violence by @AITCofficial workers against members& supporters of losing parties in Bengal are disturbing. I am sure this cannot be condoned by @MamataOfficial & count on her to take prompt& decisive action to stop this. The people’s mandate shouldn’t be undermined!
    • — Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 4, 2021 [43]
  • Soon after the declaration of Bengal Assembly Election results, there have been rampant instances of violence and goondaism by the goons of All India Trinamool Congress. Since Sunday (yesterday), Mamata Banerjee’s goons have been targeting members of the political opposition by way of fanatical violence including targeted bombings across the state. Today, around 15-20 TMC goons of Mamata Banerjee attacked and vandalised ABVP West Bengal’s Kolkata office, engaged in altercation with the activists and assaulted them. ... Nidhi Tripathi, National General Secretary, ABVP, said, “While the office-bearers and activists, who suffered a violent attack by the TMC goons at ABVP office are now safe, the fanatically violent streak adopted by the West Bengal Chief Minister and her party goons is extremely disconcerting and condemnable. In the coming times, we, as the torchbearers of nationalism, must remain alert and stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight to salvage democracy in Bengal. The violent attack on ABVP activists by Mamata Banerjee’s goons is a portent of steep challenges in the long-run and we must prepare for a long and arduous struggle.”
    • Nidhi Tripathi, ABVP Press Release: 3rd May, 2021 , Nidhi Tripathi, National General Secretary, ABVP, [44]
  • “The Central Secretary General of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Sri Milind Parande today said that unfortunately, the Hindu society has been at the receiving end of the brutal and gruesome political violence that started in West Bengal on May 02.” The press release emphasised, “More than 3500 villages and over 40-thousand Hindus, including our SC & ST brethren in great numbers, are badly affected by the violence.”... “The footprints and signatures of Islamic Jihadists are overly obvious in all these incidents and patterns. The attitudes of the state government and the administration on these gruesome and brutal violence that have been going on for so many days, appear to be completely indifferent and despicable. There is an atmosphere of fear in the society. Due to this fear & non-co-operation of the local police, victim’s complaints/Cases are not being registered.”
    • Vinod Bansal, National Spokesperson of VHP,[45] [46]
  • Today, a large section of Bengali society is living under fear. Those who voted against the TMC in recent elections in Bengal are being victimized. Many of them are under attack from the TMC supported stormtroopers - their properties vandalized and livelihoods destroyed. There are reports that dozens of people, including women, have been killed in post-poll violence. Thousands of people have migrated to the adjoining states of Assam, Orissa, and Jharkhand due to fear of getting killed or raped by hooligans supported by the ruling party of Bengal. The police, local administration, civil society and media are either hand in gloves the perpetrators or are silent, fearing the wrath of the state government.... We are concerned about the weaker sections of the society who are being harassed by the government on account of exercising their right as citizens of India.
    • Statement by Academics, June 2021, also quoted at [47] Among those who issued the statement include Prof. Prakash Singh, University of Delhi, Prof. Govardhan Das, JNU, Dr JSP Pandey, Lucknow University, Prof. Jaya Kumar, Central University of Kerala, Prof. Gopal Reddy – Osmania University, Hyderabad, including more than 600 professors and scholars. The list includes famous professor, vice-chancellor, director, dean and former VC.
  • The petitioners are espousing the cause of thousands of citizens of West Bengal who are mostly Hindus and are being targeted by Muslims to take revenge for supporting BJP as they want to crush Hindus so that for years to come the power may remain with the party of their choice.... “The government and the administration remained silent spectators and no protection was provided to the victims by them. The government, officials and the administration and the police are supporting workers of the Trinamool, due to which life, liberty, prestige, dignity and modesty of women are being taken away as is evident from the fact that a number of persons were harmed and mercilessly murdered and no steps were taken for their safety,” the petition said. ... The petition also alleged that the Trinamool contested the polls “purely on a communal basis arousing the feelings of Muslims and appealing to them to remain united and vote for their party for their better future”. ... “The ECI remained a silent spectator and the provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act was flagrantly violated,” the petitioners said, adding that “illegal Bangladeshi migrants and Rohingya Muslims have been registered as voters without making any proper scrutiny and enquiry”.
  • [the High Court found that the] “stand taken by the petitioners is established that there had been post-poll violence and the state was found on a wrong foot, where throughout it was on a denial mode... till date the state has not been able to create an atmosphere that could build confidence of the sufferers to return back to their homes or carry on their occupation... “Investigation of the cases registered was in slip shod manner and hardly any arrests were made in such heinous crimes. Some of the cases have not been registered although prima facie they disclosed commission of cognizable offence. In most of the cases accused have been bailed out.”