Basirhat fact-finding team says BJP exploited incident for vote gain

The state has not been able to identify or trace those who had organised and instigated the mob to act violently

Photo by Samir Jana/Hindustan Times
Photo by Samir Jana/Hindustan Times
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NH Web Desk

In the aftermath of communal riots in Basirhat and Baduria in West Bengal in July, a fact-finding team has found out that the riots were not spontaneous and the mob was mobilised through machinations. BJP exploited the incidents for political gain and to consolidate Hindu vote banks, the team stated.

While it was widely reported that there were Muslim mobs rioting from July 2 to July 5, Hindu mobs also went on a rampage on some of these days, particularly on July 6 in Basirhat.

In the first week of July, in North 24 Pargana district, a derogatory post related to Prophet Mohammad was circulated on social media resulting in conflagration that claimed one life, left several injured and a few missing.

Until now, the state investigation still has not been able to trace the role of those who had organised and instigated the mob to act violently. However, besides the derogatory post, there was another post circulating on social media which depicted a noose around the accused Souvik Sarkar’s neck. The police, however, seem to be unaware of this post.

“There were two posts circulated and it may be significant to find out the timeline of this circulation. The mobilisation of Muslim youth on a large scale is alarming and thus efforts will have to be made by civil society organisations and the administration to ensure that youth and the public at large are not misled by fake posts or propaganda,” added historian Amaresh Misra, member of the team.

The fact-finding team constituted by All India Secular Forum (AISF) included historian Amaresh Misra, journalist Arup Chanda, AISF members Mohammad Jalal Uddin, Nasmin Choudhury, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) director Irfan Engineer, CSSS deputy director Neha Dabhade and local resident Kingshuk Chakraborty. They met the injured from both communities, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders, the family of Souvik Sarkar, the accused who allegedly uploaded and circulated the derogatory post in question, the family members of the deceased Kartik Ghosh, police officers and elected representatives.

The team has found that despite this violence, the villagers harboured no ill feelings towards members of the other community. “Both the communities have been exercising some caution when interacting with outsiders. Congress councillor Avinash Nath formed a peace army to persuade a few Muslim families who had left their homes during the riot to return home. They were escorted back home,” said Amaresh Misra.

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Published: 19 Aug 2017, 7:36 PM