A lawless state

There are disquieting signals from West Bengal of the government itself blatantly undermining the rule of law and the administration turning away from its responsibility to protect common people from increasingly frequent attacks and excesses, mostly politically motivated.

 There are too many examples of  the ruling Trinamool Congress leadership interfering in routine matters of police functioning. The latest case is the transfer of Kolkota police commissioner R K Pachnanda who did not comply with the order from high up to shield a Trinamool leader in a case of murder of a police inspector. There was even a video footage  which showed the leader was the culprit  but the party wanted to shield him. Senior police officers have in the past also been shunted out of their posts  for political reasons.

Trinamool mobs took the law into their hands after the two-day strike last week, which the party and the government had opposed. Those who took part in the strike were attacked in many parts of the state. The ear of a government official was cut off and many others were punished in various ways. In all cases it was the lumpen elements of the Trinamool Congress which decided the punishment and inflicted it on people, often in harsh physical  terms. They had probably taken their cue from the warnings of serious consequences for taking part in the strike. The party and government leaders have not criticized or restrained the workers but have even encouraged them. This could only be expected in view of the record of intolerant and arbitrary actions the government has resorted to from the beginning of its term. It  has behaved as if  its responsibilities were subservient to its political interests.

A major complaint against  the Left Front government was that the party dictated terms to the police and the administration. Now the people may be coming to realize that the dispensation not only remains the same, but may have perhaps become worse and more partisan. The basic duty of a government is to protect the rights of people, ensure their safety and security and enforce the rule of law. The Trinamool government has not only failed in these respects but is even defiant about it. The governor has questioned the government on its failure but it can only develop into  a  political row. The government and the party have shown no signs of a change of course.

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