Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) working president JP Nadda performed in Kolkata, a mass prayer — tarpan, a Hindu ritual — for 80 party activists and supporters killed in violence in the recent years in a significant multi-pronged strategy to pander to Hindutva and Bengali sentiments while pushing the narrative of political violence being perpetrated against the saffron camp in West Bengal.
All senior state BJP leaders gathered at the age-old Bagbazar Ghat of the Hooghly river, a distributary of the Ganges, in north Kolkata, for the prayers. The family members of slain activists also took part in the rituals. Amid chanting of slokas (Sanskrit verses) by priests, male relatives with their heads shaved performed the rituals. Some females, many of whom had tears in their eyes, also took part.
“My brother was shot at by miscreants backed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) September 6. He died two days later. I have came here to pray for the peace of his soul, and for punishment to the culprits,” said brother of Swarup Gorai, a Birbhum district BJP worker.
Ahead of the rituals, soil from the spots where they were killed was brought to the ghat in a procession christened ‘asthikalas yatra’. The BJP workers then carried the soil on their shou Nadda offered the holy water and took part in the sankalp (vow), assisted by a priest and party general secretary in charge of Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya. Family members of each 80 ‘martyrs’ interacted with Nadda, who assured them that the party was with them.
As the half-an-hour programme concluded, Nadda hit out at the Mamata Banerjee government alleging West Bengal was in the grip of ‘jungle raj’ and ‘state terrorism’ with democracy rendered non-functional through ‘physical liquidation of political opponents’. Those opposed to the ruling TMC ideology were being eliminated, he alleged.