WATAN was designed to help promoting scientific learning among the under-privileged students. However, in the recent developments, we find ourselves rather immensely engaged in saving lives of our target audience/beneficiaries first, who have been terrorized by the rulers’ hegemony. You can’t teach Science to a piece of dead meat. You can’t tell them to question the subjugative hegemony when the very legitimacy of their being alive is being questioned. We don’t even question why the victims of political terror are mostly Muslims while they still are demographically minority.
Right at the moment when we began receiving help and donations for our original mission, the rulers and their rivals unleashed unprecedented terror in the name of democracy, the three-tier Panchayat elections. The ideal of this localized self-governance system was to empower the People outside the ambit of bureaucracy burdened with predominantly colonial hangover. The purpose of terrifying the people is the exact opposite, i.e. to disempower and disengage the people from the active politics. What this whole pseudo-political exercise is about, is money; raw, unaccounted; is about burgeoning of the parties and their beneficiaries that represent the usual privileged minority class with fat wallets – and those who are kept outside the ambit are the underprivileged majority, exactly the target audience of ours. We at WATAN are not so naive to believe that the present political discourse can be free of violence. In fact, I am the one who would work through his life towards a fierce armed revolution. But this current bout of bloodshed is working exactly the opposite direction what we would have wanted it to be.
Three distinct phases of violence have we witnessed in the last couple of months; 1. Pre-poll 2. Poll-day and 3. (going on now) Post-poll row of cold-blooded murders. After phases 1 & 2, we have been reported of 43 different incidents of poll-related violence (leaving the rape cases out of the scope) where 19 casualties happened. This is outside the calculation dished out by the government of WB, and of course the figures will be different from theirs. Out of these 43, we had shortlisted 16 cases, and so far our performance is as follows.
1. We couldn’t do anything about Bablu Das (Bharatpur, near Barasat) who had severe injuries during the poll-day spree of violence. Bablu Das passed away.
2. In the pre-poll violence, folk artist Md. Iqbal Ali (Balurghat) was hacked and he died three days later. However, we have helped his family to get out of the debts after the funeral, and also could save some cash that would help them start afresh.
3. Yasin Mondal of Akhira, Rampurhat was going to lose his vision due to a bomb splinter, but his eyes are saved, and he is out of danger now. WATAN bore all the expenses.
4. In a similar instance, Biwi Umma Kulsum of Shahjadpur, Murshidabad lost the vision in her left eye, along with other injuries. She has been treated under our supervision and is out of danger now, though the cornea grafting is still due. It will be done 4 weeks later, hopefully hassle-free.
5. We have already admitted 8 more people to different hospitals across the state, and there are others who need more of a cash donation than medical help as the victims were sole bread winners in the respective families and though the injuries are not severe, the families are immersed into debts.
6. We are also considering two more cases of post-poll violence: A. That of Asst. Teacher Manirul Islam of Deganga, Chapatala Primary School. I have personally talked to the victim who has been broke paying the huge bills of a private hospital where he got treated after being refused by NRS. I have also talked to the competent authorities, for Mr. Islam deserves compensation from the EC via WB govt. We might have to help him in the legal battle. B. That of Atabul Mollah of Mekhiganj, Coochbehar (Jamaldaha) whose father despite being an elected GP Member has been hacked by TMC goons and is now struggling in an hospital at Siliguri for life.
Our work is far from over. And we need more funds, more expertise, more sustainable solutions to restore confidence of these people and their families. Be with us. Join hands with us. Political Violence is about psychological over-powering. Let’s not allow the goons to overpower our democracy. It’s our country, our people, OUR DEMOCRACY.
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