Post poll election, Bengal violence: Death, misinformation, and politics

Fake news being circulated on social media and being debunked by fact-checkers in Kolkata.

Image source: Newsroom.

The post-poll scenario:

The Bengal wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed 6 casualties till now. Six workers were killed across the state on Sunday. They also alleged that a few hundred party offices and houses of BJP workers were ransacked across the state as the counting progressed. The BJP office in Arambagh was set ablaze as soon as Sujata Mondal, their party candidate, got defeated. Thereafter, Suvendu Adhikari got harassed by an unidentified assailant in the Haldia district of West Bengal after he came out of the vote count center, and BJP alleged it was no other than TMC goons. Videos and pictures got viral, and they portrayed BJP supporters being targeted, threatened, and attacked. However TMC denied the allegations stating that four of its workers have been killed, plus adding more to it, Banerjee said all the claims are false, the rumors are being spread using old pictures of riots that did not take place in Bengal. Others, including the Left, have also been on the receiving end of political violence. The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the West Bengal Government to send over a report on the post-election violence targeting opposition political workers in the state. Bengal Governor Jagdeep tweeted, he has asked the home minister of Bengal to submit a report on violence, and steps being taken to control it. The BJP has claimed several instances of violence, ranging from murder, arson, loot, and even sexual assault. Some of the BJP leaders have added a communal angle to it. However, according to the latest reports, west Bengal police responded by tweeting the claims of violence in Birbhum is fake and the incident that took place in Nandigram was that of personal dispute and had nothing to do with politics. However, the BJP declared on Monday, that it will hold a nationwide dharna on the 5th of May, against the widespread violence unleashed by TMC workers, the same day when Mamata Banerjee will take an oath. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was sworn in as West Bengal, chief minister for the third straight term today. Moments after swearing-in Mamata Banerjee and governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said, “our priority is that we must bring an end to this senseless violence that has affected society at large. I have every hope that the CM urgently will take all steps to restore rule of law.” Mamata also mentioned there’s no space for violence in West Bengal, so she will handle it with firmness and appealed to people to maintain peace. Amid this global pandemic, fake news found a new ground for propagation over WhatsApp and social media. Old and unrelated videos are being passed off as visuals of the recent political violence. Banerjee, earlier on Monday, addressed a press conference, stating that a collective fight against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election, but right now the priority should combat the covid-19 crisis.

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