The hills’ people disgruntlement with the BJP would obviously work to the advantage of its chief rival, ruling Trinamool.
CPI-M state secretary Md Salim today warned that people of north Bengal should learn a lesson from ethnic violence in Manipur so that such strife does not occur here.
Mr Salim is touring some north Bengal districts to address party workers’ meetings.
“People of north Bengal and Assam should take lessons from the ethnic violence in Manipur that has killed several people and displaced thousands. There is a design to pit one community against another. People of divergent ethnic communities have been dwelling in north Bengal over the decades like in the Plains and Hills, Rajbanshis, Mech, Rabha with different languages, religions, and culture, but attempts are being made to drive a wedge among them. People here need to be careful, as such incidents have no place here. Manipur is on fire, and conflict there involves the Meitei and Kuki communities of the state. Churches have been vandalised. The aggressive majoritarianism gives birth to fascism. People need to unite and resist any such attempt,” Mr Salim said.
Violent clashes took place in the Northeastern state on 3 May after the All Tribal Students Union Manipur held a solidarity march in all districts, opposing the recent Manipur High Court order, which had asked the Manipur state government to send a recommendation to the Centre regarding the demand to include the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list.
The state’s tribal communities, including the Kukis and the Nagas, have been opposing the demand of the majority Meitei community for inclusion in the ST list.
Meitei community forms a Hindu majority, while the Kukis are mostly Christian. Army and paramilitary forces have been deployed to control the situation.
“Assam is on the same path and a mock trial took place in north Bengal,” he said.
Talking about the recent incidents in Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur district, Mr Salim said the BJP was trying to divert the issue on communal grounds.
Meanwhile, he said the party was in favour of a comprehensive seat sharing formula with the Congress for the upcoming elections.
“We have called for unity of anti-Trinamul Congress and anti-BJP forces. Discussions are underway. There should be a comprehensive seat sharing strategy from the micro level,” Mr Salim said.