A video of a lady teacher being physically harassed by a panchayat leader with her hands and feet tied in South Dinajpur district on Sunday went viral, which created a political storm in Bengal. The video of the incident was released on social media which created an uproar, leading to the Panchayat leader Amal Sarkar being suspended by his party. Sarkar was also suspended from the Trinamool Congress party after the incident.
The BJP took no time to lash out on Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, citing that democracy had died in a state ruled by a female CM. "The incident in South Dinajpur is more gruesome and barbaric than events of middle ages. I have never seen such an incident, especially on camera, in my lifetime. In films, we see such things. In a state which is run by a woman Chief Minister, we are seeing that a female teacher is being treated like this. So much of atrocities are happening with women in a state run by a female CM", lashed out BJP MP of Balurghat, Dr. Sukanta Majumdar also claiming that the ones who speak of democracy in the country, don't let democratic practices work in Bengal.
The video shows men threatening the teacher Smritikanya Das before tying her feet with ropes and dragging on the road. Her hands were also tied. The men are seen threatening her all the while in broad daylight as villagers look on. Das, the school teacher, had protested against the construction of a road since a part of the road was passing over the land she owned. She had raised her voice which led to her being heckled and dragged on the streets by Sarkar and his men. Das was later rescued by local villagers.
Police initially did not want to lodge a complaint against the accused Panchayat leader. Instead, they were accusing her of high handedness for protesting against giving up her land for the construction of the road. After the incident, the video went viral which created outrage amongst people, prompting TMC to take action against the accused. An FIR was lodged against Sarkar under the Gangaram Police station.
There have been incidents of TMC men using muscle power to harass villagers in rural and urban localities too. With such incidents coming to light, the TMC is not taking any chances considering the Assembly elections in West Bengal are in 2021 and the party is trying to clean up its image to retain a third term in the State and keep the BJP away. The BJP has made inroads into West Bengal after gaining ground in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The National Commission of Women took the matter seriously and stated that it is deeply disturbed by this reported incident and the safety of the woman in the state. NCW has written and contacted DGP Virendra of West Bengal Police to arrest the culprits involved in atrocities against women and take strict action.