Sunday, December 19, 2010

Violence Against Hindus Continues in Joynagar

Jangalia, a village with both Hindu and Muslim residents is situated in South 24 Pargana under Joynagar police station (West Bengal, India). The Hindu and Muslim locality is separated by a road. The auto-tacker hub by the road is near a old banayan tree which the Hindu residents worship. This year (2010), the rickshaw and van drivers decided to celebrate Vishwakarma puja under the tree. Muslim residents opposed the plan claiming the land belongs to them and they want to build a graveyard in the land. The claim by Muslims has no merit - the land belonged to a local Hindu family. Even today the intersection is called "Bipin Saha-r More" (Intersection of Bipin Saha). West Bengal government seized the land from the Sahas under land ceiling act. So, the private land belonging to Sahas became government land.

Not surprisingly, Muslims pretend all government land belongs to them and take every opportunity to grab any available land! They declared the vested land next to the Auto Stand to be their graveyard and build wall around it. This graveyard area had no Muslim burial in the past - which tells us the falsehood of their claim!

When the Muslims were preparing to build the wall, Hindu van and auto drivers contacted Hindu Samhati. Samhati contacted the police and Hindus could celebrate Vishwakarma puja at the site. Unfortunately, on the night of the puja, Muslims vandals desecrated the mandap (altar) and broke the muthy(deity) of Lord Vishwakarma. Hindus were forced to perform biswarjan with the broken murty.

Then came Durga puja. Hindus perform Durga puja with pomp and splendor every year. Hindu girls always perform puja under the banayan tree on the day of "Sasthi" during Durga puja. This year Muslims tried stopping them and police intervened. Undaunted by resistance from Muslims and police, Hindus performed puja by the tree. During the Durga puja, Muslims complained to the police about use of loud speaker. Interestingly, Muslims have been using loud speakers five times a day for daily azaan (Muslim call to prayer)! Hindu Samhati intervened again and Hindus could use loud speaker during the puja.

Just before Kali puja, Subrata Sarkar, (Block Development Officer, Joy Nagar - 1) invited Hindus and Muslims for a meeting on 30th October, 2010 regarding the disputed land. Since Hindu residents were busy with preparation for upcoming Kali puja, they submitted a written petition on October 28th, 2010 requesting postponement of the meeting by one day. Even though Subrata Sarkar accepted and agreed to postpone the meeting, on Oct 30th, he arrived at the disputed spot with local Muslims and police force. Muslims cut the branches of the Banayan tree and started building a concrete wall. Locals Hindus protested and demanded how come the BDO agreed to postpone the meeting but, came to help Muslims build the wall without contacting the Hindus. Subrata Sarkar mistreated the protesters which enraged Hindus and they prevented the Muslims to build the wall. Hindu women also protested. Police force and Muslims attacked the Hindus and severely beat them up. This resulted in all out confrontation from Hindus. Bombs and guns were used by both sides and OC Ram Kumar Mandal along with four police officers and eight Muslims were wounded and had to be hospitalized.

Police force then raided the Hindu locality and arrested eight Hindus included four women, one of whom was seven months pregnant. The arrested Hindus are:

Supriya Mandal (7 months pregnant)
Nayantara Mandal
Bishakha Mandal
Basanti Haldar
Sukumar Mandal
Gopal Haldar
Mahadev Mandal
Alok Mandal

The Hindu women were granted bail after 25 days in jail. The Hindu men are still languishing in jail more than one month now.

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