Deganga Visited – not a riot, but an Islamic Onslaught
A CAAMB Report 13 September 2010
There was looting, burning for three days. Military was called. Deganga is just hardly 45 km away towards northeast from Kolkata. But no TV camera reached there, no interview of victims
shown in any TV channel. After two days, some newspapers reported only of ‘violence between two communities’.
No reporting about the identity of the attackers, even if well-known to everybody there. No Human Rights groups went there. No intellectual brigade (Paribartankami – pro-changers) went there, not even a statement by the Santras Virodhi Mancha, the newly formed body to talk against all kinds of terror, both from the state and non-state actors. So some of us had to go there and report about the burning Deganga. It is perhaps the test case what the Hindus of West Bengal will have to face in the new CHANGE that is swaying West Bengal. In a nutshell, our findings indicate that what happened in Deganga was not a riot, but a one-sided pogrom with a clear planning and its successful execution.
How it all Started
It all started as a dispute over a piece of land. The land which once belonged to legendary Rani Rasmoni, is now shared by a Muslim graveyard and a Hindu temple land (Debottar). There has been some dispute about the boundary between the two estates and the issue is now lying with the Calcutta High Court. The Durga temple on the land is about 50 years old and owned by Chattal Samity. The samity (organization) is an organization of the Hindu refugees from Chittagong in East Pakistan. They organize a big Durga Puja festival
which is the major festival spot in the nearby locality. There were some meetings between two communities about the land very recently but no solution was found. Like every year, the Samity has started to construct the pandal for the puja.
On 6th September at about 1 pm in the afternoon, a group of Muslim started excavation to build a wall which would prevent people from using a common road which passes through the disputed land. This road is the only link to the Hindu village of the refugees from Chittagong and also the way to reach the puja pandal. This simply means a direct provocation to stop the upcoming Durga Puja. The Samity people resisted the illegal
move by the Muslims on the disputed land. Then the local police came to stop the ensuing clash. However the Muslim group was well prepared for that and attacked police with bricks already collected, anticipating police intervention. The Muslim group had children and women in its army of stone throwers – a tradition from Palestine to Kashmir. The police had to retreat
and again came back with larger forces from Barasat and Basirhat Police stations. Two police officers Arupratan Ghosh and Dibyendu Ghosh were injured by spade and bricks. To control the mob the police then fired 7 rounds in the air, in which no one was injured.
The Muslim Attack
Locals allege that TMC MP Hazi Nurul Islam was responsible for the next chain of events as he promised to snatch the land from the Hindus. After the police firing the Muslims went back for time being but started to get organized to teach Hindus a lesson. So the Muslims led by TMC activists from Dogachhia village later came in a number of Matador vans and attacked Kartikpur village. This is the village nearest to the disputed land and it has a market and temple on the State Highway connecting to district headquarter Barasat. The Muslim attackers first broke the Kali idol in the market temple, destroyed two shops of Milon De and Rabin De.
Another group started vandalizing the Hindu shops in nearby
Deganga Market. They looted and destroyed the shops of Sanjay Das, they forced open the grocery shop of Kanai Gupta and looted everything. Then they looted the mobile shop of Uttam Saha and another mobile shop (Shri Krishna Mobile) of Tanmoy. The locals have alleged that TMC MP Hazi Nurul Islam himself was present there to facilitate the looting. In this mayhem, the Muslim mob placed loud speakers on the top of the Deganga Mosque. It is to be noted that due to High Court order, Deganga Mosque could not install permanent loud speakers. It is also alleged by locals that Hazi ensured that he would put the loud speakers permanently on the mosque.
In next wave of attack the Muslim attackers again came to Kartikpur market in the evening and destroyed more Hindu shops. The Hindu shops of Beliaghata market, another major market few kilometers away were also looted. The Shib-Kali Temple by the side of a local waterbody was ransacked. Then they burnt one bus, two trucks and a Matador van at Kartikpur market.
Another Muslim mob from nearby village ransacked the Kartikpur Health Centre and the adjoining Hindu houses and shops. Shops of Santu Das, Tapas and others were ransacked there. They also attacked the house of Partha Das, broke the windowpanes of the house by brickbating and damaged the Qualis jeep in the house.
As the Muslims saw that the Left Front police would not do much to save the Hindus, they again became active on next morning. TMC activists Miraj Maklukar, Shohrab, Taleb were the leaders. They again came to Kartikpur Market at 10 am in the morning. The Muslim mob again vandalized the Kali temple, destroyed the Kali idol
which was plastered and placed again on the pedestal in the night. This time they also urinated in the temple. They beat Prasad Basu who tried to talk to them. They injured Biswajit Biswas by sword. Then they attacked Hindu village Palpara. Police came and fired two rounds in the air, no one was injured. Army was called in the evening.
Even in the presence of the Army, Muslims torched the houses of Haren Bakshi, Badal Ghosh and four other families in Khejurdana village close to Kartikpur Market. Then they ransacked the house of Dr Tapas Roy and Tarun Bhowmik. Angry Hindu villagers burnt TMC party office at Kartikpur. But even in the face of such large scale desecration of properties, pandals and deities, the Hindus did not even touch the gates raised to celebrate the Eid due within a couple of days.
This is mostly report of violence in and around Kartikpur, the centre of the disputed land. The other areas and villages affected by Muslim violence were Beliaghata, Ramnathpur, Gambhitgachi, Doharia, Falti and others. One assessment puts as about 100 houses ransacked and 200 shops damaged. 200 families took shelter elsewhere.
There was panic among the Hindus. It seemed they are living not in West Bengal but in a Sharia-ruled state. At about 12 noon TMC Central Ministers Mukul Roy, Dinesh Divedi and others came in a number of cars with heavy security and visited the local police station and BDO office. While going back they were shown black flags, shoes by angry Hindu villagers including a large number of women and children in a number of places. As military people were seen packing up to go back, again fear of Muslim attack was spreading among the Hindus.
Who did it and Why?
The facts speak loud that the mayhem was organised by the local TMC leaders. The Muslim fundamentalists have been long appeased by Marxist government for 34 years. In a changed political scenario, the Muslim fundamentalist forces have got the shelter of TMC. Some of them are now prominent TMC leaders. These fundamentalist Islamic force has been successful to drive out Talsima Nasrin, there are a number of attacks on Hindus at Haringhata, Katwa, Mallikpur and elsewhere in very recent times. Muslims now know that Left Front police will never fire at them. At Nandigram, police fired on a Vaishnabite Hindu crowd offering prayers to Sri Chaitanyadev and out of 14 persons killed, only one was Muslim. But to appease Muslims, TMC nominated its MLA candidate from that Muslim martyr’s family. During Muslim rioting in Kolkata to oust Taslima, police remained a silent spectator and no one was punished for destroying hundreds of cars and buses. In Deganga too Military was not required
at all, police force was enough to contain the violence of the local rioters. As the Marxist government did not want its police to open fire on a Muslim mob if necessary, the Marxists cunningly called Military to do the job. Then the central government can be easily blamed for any untoward incident.
The regressive Islamic leaders like Haji Nurul Islam, Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque or Idris Ali are now TMC leaders. So they know now they can capture any disputed land by force, can put up loud speakers anywhere – no court or government will dare to do anything.
In 1991 census Deganga Block had 67.65% Muslims, by now it must be more than70%. Like all Muslim majority places, be it Pakistan or Bangladesh, the Hindu minority can only live as a dhimmi (hostage). The Hindus there are feeling like that or otherwise many of them have to be refugee again.
Human rights professionals or the so-called changemakers will remain silent. But We must ALL STAND UP, lest DEGANGA becomes THE FUTURE OF WEST BENGAL.
CAAMB (Campaign Against Atrocities on Minorities in Bangladesh) is a human rights advocacy group working on the issues of minority rights in Bangladesh and campaigns for upholding secular values in society.
Original report in pdf may be seen here :