Quick edit: Is Mamata playing the fiddle…

If first chapters of change are incoherence,Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is having more than her share of it.

Written by Tikli Basu | Mumbai | Published: April 4, 2013 12:53:40 pm

Serious crimes have often fallen to whimsical descriptions. Her administration dismissed the Park Street rape as ‘staged’. And this February,Mamata Banerjee linked increasing rapes to increase in population. Her government has again come under fire for the death of an SFI leader while in police custody.

The scenario: Two or three home guards are herding unruly SFI members into a police bus to be taken to jail. After the arrest and before they are released on a personal bail bond,they are officially in custody of the police. Some boys are hanging precariously from the bus,and Sudipto Gupta is one of them. He is hit several times,his head ‘allegedly’ bangs against a lamp post,he is grievously injured and succumbs in hospital.

To the police’s defence,there is clear evidence of a mad scuffle inside the bus as these home guards have also been seriously hurt.

Precisely. Is Mamata Banerjee’s police equipped to handle incidents of organised law and order violation in the state? No. There is no proper drill,no proper instruction and certainly not much training. Where were even a couple of senior police officers overseeing the arrests?

To add to that,there have been lakhs of ad hoc appointments in the name of civic and municipal police. These men are most visible on roads,controlling crowds and traffic. They are not part of the regular police force,and therefore,little-skilled at the job. And the police’s job is being made easier by the chief minister herself,who has prejudged Sudipto Gupta’s cause of death (his head hit a lamp post) and,therefore,dictated the line the investigation should take.

And lastly,did Mamata have to give in to the insecurities of being in power?

Bengal’s political history has unfolded in protests and the way they have been handled. The most significant ‘purgation’ was as bloody as they come – of Naxals during a Congress regime in the mid-70s. During the next three-decade hegemonic domination of the Left,the occasion did not arise of a contest. In a way,there was ‘peace’ under the super-domination of one power. Till the last few years of that reign…

Mamata has said she will not take revenge,but is that what is happening in reality? The first few months were quiet,and now that the administration has begun to trip,the Left is raring for a fight. And who knows the struggle for power better than Mamata – the proverbial Problem Child?

Michel Foucault would have told her: There is no glory in punishing.

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