Rampurhat, Birbhum, West Bengal, India
Bagtui Paschimpara Muhharram Commitee organized a Muharram Tazia parade on Friday, December 17th 2010 evening. The parade was conducted without permit from the local police department. When the police learned about this illegitimate parade, instead of stopping it, they requested the organizers to follow certain routes so that local people do not face any hassle or delay in their daily commute. The Muslim organizers paid no attention to the police instructions and chose to march in routes they wanted. When SDPO intervened and tried to direct the marchers in routes the police approved, the mob turned violent and threatened to kill him. The police force retreated and continued to watch the marchers from a distance.
It was night when the Tazia procession reached the Kamarpatti More. The marchers started breaking all street lights causing panic among the locals. In the cover of darkness, the Muslim mob started vandalizing Hindu owned stops between Lotus Press Lane and Kamarpatti More. More than 25 shops were looted and several Hindu women molested. The Muslim marchers also destroyed couple of govt owned buses. The procession then advanced to Shangata More where the marchers attacked the Dakshina Kali Mandir.
Police witnessed the looting and mayhem from a distance. However, they took no action against the perpetrators. It should also be noted that Muslims destroyed the street lights before staring the anarchy - the darkness made it difficult for the police and local Hindus identify the criminals.
On December 18th 2010, local Hindus under the umbrella of Rampurhat Babosayi Samiti conducted a protest rally and blocked the state highway between Lotus Press Lane and Kamarpatti More from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Hindus demanded the culprits be apprehended and police prevent such incidents in future. They also brought up the fact that they have been attacked multiple times in recent past by Muslims from Bagtui village. In 2009, they attacked the Durga puja immersion procession near Mahajanpatti. There were also incidents of attack on Hindu girls and the Hindu population is living under constant fear.
As a result of continuing attacks and harassments, a large number of Hindu families have already left the area. The sharp drop in the number of Hindus is endangering the few remaining families.
As per 2001 census, the following were the population distribution among Hindus and Muslims in Rampurhat subdivision:
Rampurhat Block -1 (Muslims 29.03%, Hindus 70.97%)
Rampurhat Block - 2 (Muslims 47.04% Hindus 52.96%)
Nalhati Block - 1 (Muslims 46.69% Hindus 53.31%)
Nalhati Block - 2 (Muslims 68.03% Hindus 31.97%)
Murarai Block - 1 (Muslims 56.25 Hindus 43.75%)
Murarai Block - 2 (Muslims 73.62 Hindus 26.38%)
Overall demographic distribution in Birbhum district (Muslim 35.08% Hindus 64.49%)
Age group 0 - 6 years demographic distribution in Birbhum district (Muslim 41.15% Hindus 58.42%)