Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sainthia Businessmen Getting Vulnerable to Pressure Tactics in Muharram

Raise Violent Protests to Save Skin and Kith and Kin at This Time

Lastly, Sainthia, a prominent town and municipality in Suri Sadar subdivision (of Birbhum district in West Bengal, India), has got acquainted with the brunt of not conforming to the (Islamic tradition of) heinous pressure tactics played during Muharram (to raise subscriptions from Hindus). It is to be noted that Sainthia is famous for Nandikeshwari Temple, one of the Shakti Peethas in India.and has always been one of the prime targets of Islamic extremist groups, whose main intention is to uproot the potent Hindu community populating the town and also its confidence.

The events that played out before the administration on 17th December, 2010, Friday (Muharram Day) was enough to motivate the Hindu community living here to protest fiercely. The shop of a local Hindu businessman was ransacked completely for refusing to adhere to the rate of forced subscription imposed on him by the local organizers of Muharram (a Muslim festival). These events took place in front of the local police and the administration, while the later were found to perceive the entire development with rapt attention only. The persecuted Hindu businesspersons lodged a complaint against the culprits but none of them were arrested by the local police till late Friday evening.

It is worthwhile to mention that mounting rates of subscription (forced donation collection for Muharram) and changing approaches of collecting these funds have been making lives of businessmen in and around Sainthia difficult and unbearable. What is even more weird is and moreover apathetic stance of the local police has been adding salt to the gaping wound. You may be amazed to hear that the Muslim activists have been extracting money from local Hindu businessmen in broad daylight, but no measures have been adopted by the administration yet to call all these a halt.

According to local businessmen, while the aforesaid ransacking was in full swing during Friday afternoon (on Muharram day), in a shop of electrical goods in the corporation market, the police did simply nothing. It’s a ghastly reality even if there was a presence of no less than 7-8 police personnel during the incident.

As per the owner of the looted shop, a gang of Islamic activists imposed a forced subscription (donation demanded) of Rs. 200 on him owing to the Muharram, which was not possible for him to bear financially. When he refused to pay and was stern about it, he was ridiculed by the ruffians and the entire Islamic group left. But within a short period, 35-40 of the group returned, attacked the business property, and started plundering and looting the shop. The extent of damage was huge, amounting to lakhs of rupees (in the Indian context). But the police simply refused to interfere after repeated requests, and save the businessmen from persecution. All these above-mentioned incidents caused the businessmen to raise strong protests and block traffic before the Rabindra Bhavan in the neighborhood. It was indeed a very tough moment for the local Hindu people.

Quoting successful businessman Shibkumar Mitra, the 'rising indifference or impassivity (on the part) of local administration is encouraging the Islamic felons to go on with their illegitimate activities. Muslims have historically extracted funds from non-Muslims for their religious use, which is known as the 'Jijiya' tax.'

Well, the police has never been short of providing assurances. They have assured (at this time too) that appropriate measures would be adopted to bring the culprits to book. But if the communication between this correspondent and the hurt businessmen is to be believed, the reliance on police (among Hindus) is steadily on the wane.

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