The violence that has incurred in the Bengal bandh reminds us that while bandh are an integral component of democracy, they should be carried out with an utter sense of responsibility.
The New Leam Staff
Two Students were shot dead in West Bengal and this had triggered debate and protest on Wednesday. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for 12 hours Bandh and took out a rally to protest against the killing of the two students. As a reaction to the Bandh, Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists came on the street. So clashes broke out between TMC and BJP supporters in West Burdwan, South Dinajpur, and North Dinajpur District. The BJP claims that the bandh was successful, but Trinamool Congress refuted the BJP workers’ claim.
However, public properties like buses were set on fire on the road and stones were pelted at buses. Later, the crowd was dispersed and brought under control.
Recently, there was a strike by farmers (September 5, 2018) and now another strike against the killing of two students in West Bengal. It is necessary to understand the act of bandh. What is the role of Bandh in a democracy? The very meaning of democracy is that people are ruling themselves. People’s representatives would rule on behalf of the entire population. People do get disappointed when their representatives would not listen to them. Then people would try to communicate with their representative through formal or informal mechanism but when everything else fails, a bandh is the ultimate refuge.
There could be two reasons for bandh; either government is not responding to people voices or parties want to draw people attention towards the government’s failure. If the government is sensitive enough to listen to people, then there would not be the need for a Bandh. But most of the time bandhs take place because opposition parties want to come to power. Hardly one pays attention towards the outcome of the bandh. If bandh is not serving the purpose, then one must think about the act of bandh.
The Bandh is necessary for a democracy, which is the last option left with people because people would elect their representative for the fixed time. If the chosen representatives do not act properly, then they cannot call their representative back. If the government is not listening to the people’s voices, then people would show a last and silent form of Bandh through secret ballot voting system.
Usually, bandhs are supposed to be nonviolent. But, now the form of bandh has changed into violent mediums like stone pelting, burning busses and trains, public and private vehicles. People would not realize that when they burn the public bus, the government has nothing to lose. The bus was bought from tax payer’s money. If people burn the bus, it is nothing but burning their vehicle. It is a great loss for everyone in the society.
On the bandh day there would not be enough vehicle for transportation, if someone is pregnant or has lost their dear one, then one needs to visit the hospital and their relative’s house. So, calling a Bandh does huge damage to the country’s economy. Therefore the government should be sensitive towards people and opposition should use the act of bandh with responsibility.