West Bengal is cowering under two diseases—dengue and the National Register of Citizens panic. The first one is seasonal; the latter is potentially permanent. Both are grim reapers. In 2019, Bengal leads the country in dengue-related deaths, with the figure till August reaching 22. But its spread—Calcutta and neighbouring districts—is limited, and changing seasons hold the promise of a respite.
But fear of NRC has the state in a vice-like grip—allegedly causing 11 deaths (some of them suicides) till September 25. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on September 23 claimed that the lurking fear led five to take their own lives. Though there is no official count, people trying to organise protests against NRC have collated a list of 20 NRC-related deaths. The district-wise break-up shows an even spread—from Cooch Behar in north Bengal to North 24 Parganas in the south, via West Medinipur and 10 other districts.