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Violence in Bengal takes toll on minors

West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti told ET that the commission has sought reports in each case from the police and administration.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 06, 2018, 11.01 AM IST
Long-term exposure to skirmishes in some regions have put the minors under a psychological trauma, claim experts. (Representative Image)
KOLKATA: Recent incidents of political violence in West Bengal have taken a toll on its juvenile population. In last four to five months, as many as seven minors were killed and many were critically injured in incidents of political violence. The latest casualty is eight year old Bibhas Ghosh, who was killed in a blast at Dum Dum (North Kolkata suburb) on the day of Gandhi Jayanti while playing with his friends. Intense violence and long term exposure to such skirmishes in some regions have put the minors under a psychological trauma, claim experts.

A couple of days back, a 17 year old student Mizanur Rahman was caught in a cross fire between two factions of Trinamool Congress and shot dead in South 24 Paragana district. Merely a week before, two eighteen year old college students –Rajesh Sarkar and Tapas Burman—were killed in an alleged police firing during a police-students clash at a school in North Dinajpur district’s Islampur. Again, a month back to the school violence in North Dinjapur district, three-year-old Mrinal Mondol was shot after his mother defected to Trinamool Congress after winning as a BJP panchayat candidate. In May, 18 year old Trilochan Mahato, a BJP worker was found hanging in Purulia. During the Panchayat poll process, a nine year old Riyazul Mollah was killed in an alleged factional feud in south 24 Paragana. The list is long and painful.

Talking to ET, West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti said that in every case the commission has sought reports from the concerned offices of police and administration. “We always seek report in 24 hours if any juvenile is involved in any incident of violence. We also ask the administration to take immediate action. At times, we give recommendations to keep children out of such incidents too. However, more awareness is needed,” she said.

The commission recently issued orders to district administration asking them to ensure that minors do not take part in armed processions and carry any weapons during occasions like Ram Navami and Muharram. “There is United Nation convention on the rights of child which states that children cannot be used for political interest or in places where there is scope of violence,” she added.

The minors, who are living in the political flash points and have been witnessing such violence, go though ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ and there are chances for them ‘getting more violent in the coming days’, said Dr. Subir Kumar Hajra Chaudhuri, senior psychiatrist and faculty member, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research.

For the political class, it appears to be a process of trading charges against each other. While the BJP calls these incidents of violence as ‘war of syndicates of the ruling Trinamool Congress’, CPM terms it ‘results of steady lawlessness’. The ruling party however says the BJP, CPM and Congress conspire to destabilize the elected government and instigate violence.

“These incidents are caused by factional feuds and war of syndicates of Trinamool Congress. The state has a good population of infiltrators who are being used in such violence and the people of Bengal are at the receiving end. We will appeal to union home minister Rajnath Singh in this regard and draw his attention,” said BJP’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargia after the incident of blast at Dum Dum that killed a seven year old boy.

Mohammad Salim, CPM MP said,” When there is an absolute collapse of law and order situation, the most vulnerable class is women and children. In so many incidents, we saw that college, school and even pre-school children were killed and injured. But is there any proper investigation? There has been none. We from our party try to help all these injured kids and their families by taking the responsibility of their treatment.”

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