Bomb blast in Bardhaman kills child and puts focus back on declining law and order in West Bengal as it prepares to vote in first phase of Assembly election

Published : March 22, 2021 22:07 IST

The death of a seven-year-old child in a bomb explosion in West Bengal’s Bardhaman town with less than a week for the first phase of the Assembly election once again highlights the prevailing politics of violence in the State. Late in the morning of March 22, two little boys, Sheikh Firoz, 7, and Sheikh Ibrahim, 9, were playing at Raskipur in Bardhaman town, when they apparently accidentally struck a package containing crude bombs. In the explosion that followed, Firoz died and Ibrahim was badly injured. The incident sent shock waves across the State even as the Election Commission sought a detailed report from the Bardhaman district authorities.

With the eight-phase Assembly election beginning from March 27, the escalation of violence in spite of the presence of Central forces is an ominous sign of things to come. Crude bombs and weapons are being discovered and seized on a regular basis and violent political clashes have become the order of the day.

The Raskipur tragedy sparked off a fresh round of allegations from political parties, with both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) blaming the ruling Trinamool Congress for the breakdown of law and order in the State. Speaking to Frontline, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “This is a chilling message to the whole nation of what is happening in West Bengal during elections. Time and again we are seeing through media exposes how the manufacture of crude weapons is spreading across the State. The immediate intervention of the Election Commission is extremely necessary to ensure free and fair elections in the State. There is complete absence of law and order and a politicised administration cannot change the scenario.”

According to Sujan Chakraborty, senior CPI(M) leader, the tragedy is the result of “the misuse of power and money by the ruling party”. He said: “The situation is disastrous for West Bengal, with the Trinamool and the BJP locked in a battle to prove who is mightier than the other. Such incidents have increased over the last three years. A child died, and who is responsible for it? What are the State administration and the police doing?”

The Trinamool claimed that the opposition parties were doing politics with the tragedy. Trinamool Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy said, “What can be sadder than a child losing his life. But one must not politicise the issue…. It is not the responsibility of the Chief Minister to know who is making bombs and where. Only a brainless party like the BJP can make such an allegation. Law and order is now in the hands of the Election Commission. They should investigate properly and catch those who are guilty. Not everything is political; anti-socials also keep bombs in this manner.”

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