A significant number of Muslim casualties have been reported in the aftermath of the panchayat polls violence in West Bengal, with at least 42 people losing their lives, 28 of whom were identified as Muslims. Out of these violent killings, 20 occurred on the polling day itself, with 15 of the victims belonging to the Muslim community.
The fatalities primarily affected marginalized regions, including Malda and Murshidabad, where a considerable number of the Bengali Muslim victims resided. Most affected districts, hit by violence include, Murshidabad, Nadia, Cooch Behar, and South 24 Parganas.
Adil Hossain, an Assistant Professor and political anthropologist, expressed his deep concerns regarding the targeted violence against Bengali Muslims during the course of the elections. Taking to Twitter, Hossain remarked, “I always see Bengal political violence from this prism. It’s not about party but religious identity of a marginalised community that define these dead. Shame!”
He further added, “Everyone should introspect that what kind of social & economic life they have left for Muslims that for them to manage life resources the choice is between becoming political gunda or migrant workers. And Muslim community leaders are to be blamed as well for not speaking on it.”
Among the 42 casualties, it was found that 26 were associated with the Trinamool Congress, six had ties to the Congress party, five were connected to the BJP, three were left party workers, and one was a member of the Indian Secular Front. A common voter with no political affiliation was also killed during the poll violence.