March 30, 2014
From Bloc to Trinamool to heal old wounds
Five years ago Samsul Haq got a hero`s welcome when he alighted from a train in New Cooch Behar station. He was taken around the district in a decorated, festooned car by local Forward Bloc leaders for having survived the 2008 police firing at Dinhata in which five of his comrades were killed.
A bullet had pierced Samsul`s knee and he is unable to walk normally.
Today, the 42-year-old unemployed man feels neglected and betrayed and hopes that the Bloc would be obliterated from the Cooch Behar zilla parishad. Samsul joined Trinamool last year. He says that only Mamata Banerjee`s party after winning the zilla parishad in the district, cared for him and other physically-challenged persons like him.
“Five Forward Bloc workers died when the police fired at us at the subdivisional office in Dinhata. I fell to the ground when a bullet pierced my left leg. I was treated at the SSKM Hospital in Calcutta for three months,” Samsul said.
Samsul used to work in a local sawmill but after his leg injury he could not carry on with the job. Local Bloc leaders gave him the job of a night guard at the local regulated market.
“I worked there for three months, without pay. When I insisted on an appointment letter, I was asked to leave. Since then, not one Bloc leader has contacted me,” Samsul said. “They do not need me anymore.”
Samsul stopped working as a guard and he now ekes out a living by doing odd jobs at the sawmill. His son who studies in Class IX works on a small piece of land that they own.
“I have heard that the Bloc had given some cash to the families of the five who were killed. But no help has come for me, from the party or the government. I was just a pawn”. After Mamata Banerjee came to power, I felt that I should join her. I want justice from the new government” he said.
The article was originally published in The Telegraph.