Thursday, December 19, 2013

Police inactivity intensifying communal rivalry in Sutahata, East Medinipur

What can be the result of brazen minority appeasement in Bengal got apparent once more when on December 14, 2013, at 10 pm, Muslim youths in strength raided the crossing at Chaitanyapur under the jurisdiction of the police station of Sutahata in Haldia in the district of East Medinipur to conquer a strip of land alongside the thoroughfare owned by PWD (West Bengal Public Works Department). The strip of land is located at 200 meters away from the crossing and is owned by Tamal Sinha and his family. But it is lying vacant for years.  At 10 pm, almost 200 Muslim youths from the neighboring areas of Dhekua, Ramchandrapur and Jagatpur turned up there surprisingly with a banner of All India Minority Association or AIMA and started to fence the land. Members of the Sinha family rushed to the spot but instead of talking to them Muslim youths went on with the job. Even if the local police station was phoned repeatedly, there was no response. The local market committee also remained silent and then, finding no other way, youths of the Sinha family tried to prevent crooks physically but it backfired. They were thrashed by the crowd. Hindu women of the family were also insulted. 

But this failed to dampen spirits of Sinha family; women of the family tried to dismantle the makeshift fence in the wee hours on December 15 but at this time, they were lashed. However, the situation started to change once local clubs like “Juger Jatri” and “Nabatara” were informed in the morning. Members of the club along with local shopkeepers lost no time to pull down the fence and this led to fierce clashes between the two communities at several spots in the environs. 

Even if the intervention of local police and administration has succeeded to calm down the situation for now, any peaceful resolve seems to be far off yet as Hindus and Muslims have got busy in hurling accusation at each other. Local Hindus have urged the local police to detain the perpetrators on the night of December 14 but police, reportedly being cautioned by political groups hell-bent to retain its minority vote bank, remains inactive. And this is adding more fuel to the fire. 

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