Thursday, June 13, 2013

Amta market confrontation ruled by communal overtone

A recent fracas at Kaltala More market in Amta, Howrah threw the administration out of gear for hours posing questions on the fast changing and precarious reality in the state. On 5th June, 2013, at 5 pm in the local market a burqa-clad woman was caught red-handed while stealing litchis from a fruit stall that was owned by another woman. The development led to a wild altercation between the two, which finally snapped when the fruit seller slapped the female thief. Without losing time, the burqa-clad woman phoned his acquaintances and within the next 30 minutes no less than 100 hooligans belonging to the Muslim community reached the spot from surrounding areas like Khainan, Gazipur, Deora, Chanderpur and started a mayhem. From the onset they were trying to exploit the detached silence of the neighbourhood and this got apparent when hoodlums started raising slogans to avenge an apparent insult of a Muslim woman by raising communally charged slogans. When the situation was fast moving out of control, other shopkeepers, sensing more trouble in the offing, unanimously came to the fore to stop the situation from worsening. Initially there was a heated argument between the two groups but it gave way to a direct confrontation pretty soon. Shopkeepers simply thrashed the hooligans with sticks of night guards in the area following which they made a hasty retreat.

But a complaint regarding the retaliatory attack by shop owners was lodged by Muslim youths the next day at the Amta police station. On the same evening, I.C. of police station went to Kaltala More market and warned the shopkeepers there of stern action if incident like this occurred in the future. The officer also instructed the shopkeepers that instead of thrashing, they should have handed the female thief over to the police station. And as a token punishment, the female fruit seller was ordered to shut down her shop. This act of gross injustice did not go down well with the rest of the shop owners who sensed a communal angle to the harsh sentence. The shopkeepers were so infuriated that they virtually chased the police team away from spot. The police team was smart enough to appreciate the mood of the market and fled from the scene almost instantly. Later on in the night, all shopkeepers of the market went to the Amta police station and protested against the nexus between police and offenders belonging to the Muslim community, specifically against the I.C. of Amta police station. 

Sardar family in Joynagar having sleepless nights

Toofan Sardar and his family in Baneshwarpur, P.S. Joynagar, District: 24 Paraganas (South) are having sleepless nights these days. Their dreadful situation on June 4, 2013, at1 am when local thief Mohammed Bente Mandal, entered their residence stealthily.  According to Toofan and his relatives, Bente entered the house, made his way to the Puja room and even switch on the light, probably to note the actual position. Sensing danger Toofan and his brothers raised an alarm after which Mandal fled away for the time being. However, old habits die hard and Mandal was found to enter the Sardar residence once more after a gap of 2 hours. But this time the dog barked and he was eventually caught red-handed inviting fury of the residents. Toofan’s neighbors also joined the thrashing.

Later on, parents of Mohammed were called in to show the reality of their son. But out of shame they refused to accept Bente and asked Toofan and his family members to do whatever they wished to do with him. Largely out of kind heartedness, they warned and released Mandal.  However, the situation changed dramatically for the Sardar family on the next day. In the morning, a group of almost 100 armed Muslim were seen to move towards Toofan’s residence to avenge last night’s "insult". Surprisingly enough, the group contained both Mohammed Bente Mandal and his father! But a spirited defence put up by Toofan, his brothers and a few neighbors appeared to be too much for the bullies to overcome.  And opportune appearance of police saved the situation from deteriorating further.  But the crisis did not end there as thieves are being found to either enter or go around Sardar family’s residence day in and day out. The entire family is wondering whether peaceful, gentle life in Bengal has become a thing of the past.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rape attempt on school girl foiled in Kasba, Kolkata, attacker arrested

Musharaf Sheikh who attempted to rape Rukmini (name changed), an 8 year old girl student of Class IV at Jagadish Vidyapith, in Kasba, Kolkata became victim of mob fury and was ultimately arrested by police. Ziarul Shiekh, his accomplice, was also put behind bars.  The brutal incident took place on May 7, 2013 at 1697, Rajdanga Main Road, CMDA, Plot MIG 193/89, P.S. Kasba, Kolkata – 107 in a building (under construction) where Rukmini’s father is a caretaker. Musharaf Sheikh is a resident of village: Maheshpur, P.S. Mograhat, Distirct: 24 Paraganas (South) and a laborer by profession who was working in the same real estate where the victim's father was also employed.

Rukmini is the second child of Bimal and Sabitri; the couple has three other children also. On the fateful day, at around 10 am victim's mother asked her to get her brother Papai. Rukmini, as a result, went everywhere and also to the building’s roof. She asked four laborers, including Musharaf Sheikh, who were working there of her brother. But they replied that Papai was downstairs. Hearing this Rukmini started going down but she was chased by Musharaf (age 34); suddenly he dragged her into a room in the third floor and attempted to rape her.

Musharaf, however, completely misjudged Rukmini who put up a valiant fight and ultimately prevailed over her perpetrator. She ran down screaming and informed her mother who raised an alarm instantly. A large crowd gathered there within minutes, got hold of Musharaf Sheikh and thrashed him.  

Police came to the spot later on and took Musharaf Sheikh into custody. Ziarul Sheikh, guarding the room where Musharaf was torturing Rukmini, was arrested as well.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hapless grocer thrashed over trivial argument

Recently, Ukiler Haat locality at Ukilerbazaar town, under P.S. Kakdwip, District: 24 Parganas (South) witnessed the unfortunate thrashing of a shop owner over a trivial misunderstanding that would be normally sorted out amicably in most places. The event unfolded around 7 pm on 27th May when Mr Murshid, (age 32, s/o Nasir, P.O. Bishalaxmipur, P.S. Kakdwip) went to Renu Bhandar, a local grocery store owned by Mr. Pronoy Dutta and ordered a 500 gm bag of mustard oil among other things. He was given a 450 gm bag of the oil and was explained by Mr.Gourishankar Mandal, staffer at the store, that the parent company has recently changed the pack size along with lowering of price and the store is obliged to supply the same.

However, Mr. Murshed went on arguing while Mr Mandal tried desperately to placate him. Suddenly, he struck Gourishankar and went on to repeatedly thrash him. The development was so abrupt that people stood there astonished at the sudden outburst. Before they could react and save the staffer, a few local Muslims came to Renu Bhandar and took Murshid away to safety. Nevertheless, Murshid went on warning Gourishankar with dire consequences. While a small incident in the gradually shifting sands of Bengal's demography, Ukilerbazzaar has been witnessing a relatively higher growth of Muslims population in the area for a few years and concerned persons in administration do accept in confidence that illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh is culpable in this regard.

Shanties, governmental properties smashed to "avenge" tragic death

The tragic and accidental death of a Muslim woman quickly turned into a communally charged confrontation in Tikiapara, Howrah. The woman attempted to cross the railway tracks with her child when she was overrun by the Sheorafuli (down) commuter train around 7 pm on (May 27, 2013). The woman apparently survived the initial tragedy, even though her child survived. According to eye witnesses, the woman may have survived if prompt medical relief was provided to her by the Railway Protection Force or RPF who could have taken the victim to a nearby hospital. However, this did not happen and the victim succumbed to her injuries.

What followed next was nothing but a mindless attack on the railway property, including adjacent shanties inhabited by Hindus. The communal overtone was obvious from the choice of their target. The angry mob went berserk, destroying four commuter trains of the South-Eastern railway route as well as a number of long distance, express trains. The furious mob, consisting mostly of members of the Muslim community, carried on with the mayhem, leaving the passengers terror stricken while the RPF watched helplessly for a large part of the ensuing destruction. At the time of reporting, the police appeared to have calmed the rioters that managed to ravage significant amount of public property and left the area simmering with communal animosity after the days events.