(This article was first published in June 2015 in the previous version of People’s Review. Due to an incident of hacking the old website was pulled down and we could only restore the old articles in this section)
On Monday 15th June, a rally of around a dozen of activists in Ganesh Chandra Avenue – R.N Mukherjee road of Kolkata knocked the government of West Bengal led by Mamata Banerjee, and forced it to reveal its panic stricken face to the world. The rally organised by an association of handicapped people of West Bengal consisted of hardly a dozen of visually challenged people and demanded waiver of fare in public transport vehicles for physically handicapped people. They voiced their protest against all forms of atrocities committed against the handicapped people in public transport, including forcefully throwing them off from buses.
The protest was a simple march to hand over their charter of demand and present their deputation to the West Bengal Transport Department official at the latter’s R.N Mukherjee Road office along with a small speech to share their agony with the people. So far no sensible person will not be able to trace a cent of rebellion brewing in this campaign, or it turning out to be a terror nightmare for the state. However, the state administration of West Bengal, led by Mamata Banerjee and her far right Trinamool Congress thought otherwise. Citing the report provided by the intelligence bureau and special branch, the state government considered the procession a grave threat to its rule. It did not only sent police personnel in hundreds but also sent armed police, special branch sleuths, and helmet – t shirt – sandal clad Trinamool Congress supporters guised as police personnel in ‘civil uniform’ to contain a rally of twelve visually challenged people, with most having no sight in both eyes.
When asked by the scribe of People’s Review regarding the necessity of such huge police presence and barricading off the Ganesh Chandra Avenue – Bentick Street crossing the senior cops present at the venue refused to comment. The barricades erected by the police and contingent of armed security service irked the people, the daily commuters and office employees of the area who called it hype of state terror imposed on the people of West Bengal, including the most vulnerable handicapped people.
In the last leg of its journey towards the end of their five year tenure the Trinamool Congress led government of West Bengal and its chief minister Mamata Banerjee is growing more desperate to curb all forms of dissent that is rising rapidly in the province, which is lagging behind even the backward provinces of India in terms of employment, and basic necessities of the masses.
The frustration that was experienced today on the streets of Kolkata may burst out by the time the legislative elections are held next year in the province against the government that claims to represent the interest of the “Maa, Maati, Manush” (mother, soil and people).
Despite all the efforts of the state to curb the discontent of the handicapped people by the use of bullying the people went in vain, as the handicapped people were considered as champions by the people who considered them as Davids fighting Goliaths of the state machinery.