New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on January 04 carried out searches at 17 locations in West Bengal in connection with the Ekbalpore-Mominpur clashes that occurred in the state on October 9 last year, sources said.
Taking into cognizance the allegations of vandalism and damage of property of Hindus during the clashes, the NIA re-registered the case in October last year and initiated a probe into the anti-Hindu violence in Mominpur in West Bengal. Earlier, Kolkata police filed a First Information Report (FIR) in the case on October 10.
The anti-terror agency’s move comes after the Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalisation (CTCR) division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directed it to register an FIR and start a thorough probe considering the gravity of the case.
MHA’s order followed the direction of the Calcutta High Court in October while hearing a writ petition relating to the Ekbalpore-Mominpur communal violence. The Court ordered the state police to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising experienced police officials to probe into the incident.
The petitioners had approached the Court alleging that the State Police administration remained silent spectators to the communal violence that erupted in the Ekbalpore-Mominpur area of Kolkata on the eve of Laxmi Puja.
Accordingly, the petitioners prayed for the deployment of the Central Para Military Forces for maintaining peace in the aftermath of the violence, and for the transfer of the investigation of the crimes to the NIA, alleging the inefficiency of the State Police to investigate the matter in a fair manner.
The Court looked at preliminary reports filed before it and noted that five criminal cases had already been registered over the incident under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and the Arms Act, 1959, the investigation of which cases was in progress.
On October 9,2022, when the Hindu community in the Mominpore locality of Kolkata were gearing up to celebrate the annual Lakshmi Puja, Islamists attacked them.
The violent mob ransacked the properties of Hindus. Later, Hindus were forced to flee their houses. They also complained that their houses were looted by the Islamists
It was reported that the Hindus were targeted for refusing to dismantle the Durga Puja pandals, ahead of the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad. The Durga Puja conducted by the Harijan Durgosave Committee (comprising of Hindu Dalits) was the primary target of the Islamists.
Importantly, violent attacks against the Hindu community has been reported from Bengal multiple times over the years.