A BJP Parliamentary Delegation consisting of Shri Chandan Mitra, MP (Rajya Sabha) and Prabhari of West Bengal, and Shri Uday Singh MP (Lok Sabha), visited the Deganga Block and adjoining areas of Basirhat and Barasat in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on September 9, 2010. They were accompanied by Shri Rahul Sinha, President, West Bengal State BJP, Shri Tathagata Roy, former State President WB BJP and other senior office-bearers of the party’s West Bengal unit.
The Parliamentary Delegation visited areas affected by serious communal disturbances. They surveyed the disturbed localities of Deganga Bazar, Kartickpur and several interior villages to examine the situation first hand and also provide reassurance to the terrified victims of the wanton violence selectively unleashed on members of the Hindu community by the Muslim goondas acting under the direction of the Basirhat Trinamool Congress Party MP, Haji Nurul Islam.
The Delegation found that more than 250 shops and houses and had been vandalised, set on fire by the miscreants. The victims tearfully narrated their heart-rending tale and bitterly complained of violence and humiliation at the hands of goonda elements brought in from outside. Victims also complained of police inertia on the first day of violence, that is, September 6, 2010. Although the State Police, RAF and even the Army have since been deployed, an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty prevails. The Army conducted a flag march only along the main highway, while the police apparently claimed that they were under orders not to use force against the rioters. Only on September 7, after sustained violence against the targeted community (i.e. the Hindus) the RAF swung into action and managed to bring the situation under tenuous control.
The disturbances began with a deliberate attempt to disrupt erection of a Durga Puja pandal at Chattal village although the site has been used for performing community puja for the last 40 years and a permanent temple also stands there. The site adjoins a Muslim graveyard and recently attempts have been made to stop the Durga Puja at its traditional site on the ground that ownership of the land is disputed.
Taking advantage of the disturbances unleashed by Haji Nurul Islam’s goons, the rioters mounted a mike atop the Deganga Bazar mosque in violation of a High Court order prohibiting the use of a microphone at the shrine. The local Hindu community was seriously aggrieved and agitated over this action especially because the police did not intervened to dismantle the mike despite its promise to the community leaders. The BJP delegation also visited the Kali temple at Kartickpur which has been severely vandalised by the miscreants.
The delegation visited the Deganga thana and interacted with I-G Sanjoy Mukherjee and SP Rahul Srivastava. While appreciating the police’s concern to restore normalcy first, the MPs demanded that the miscreants be promptly apprehended in order to restore confidence.
The BJP has demanded immediate arrest of TMC MP Haji Nurul Islam who, from all accounts, incited the mob into communal frenzy and has been named in the FIR lodged by local people. The BJP leaders sought proactive intervention by security forces to ensure that the terrified local populace feels secure once more. Further, it was astonishing to learn that none of the other political parties had made any effort to provide succour to the thousands of victims and the administration had adopted a hands-off policy.
The BJP leaders demanded immediate intervention by the Government of West Bengal to arrest the culprits, provide compensation to the victims, restore the status quo with regard to local disputes and usher in a sense of security in the troubled area.