Muslim Mob Attack on Hindu Samhati Camp at Gangasagar - Full Report








Sagar island at the Gangasagar – the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal – is one of the holiest pilgrimages of India, where millions of Hindus from all over India and the world gather during the ‘Makar Sankranti’ (Winter Solstice) for the ‘punya snan’ or holy bath every year. As per the holy Hindu scriptures, this pilgrimage centre was established more than 2000 years ago by Maharishi Kapil (popularly known as Kapil Muni) the chief proponent of 'Samkhya Darshan' or the Samkhya school of thought within Hindu or Indian theology. This remote island gained popular notice in ancient India when Maharishi Kapil set up his ashram in this distant corner to keep away from the attendant distractions of city or village life and meditate upon the novel theories he was propounding.
Hindu Samhati had planned a 3 day training camp and workshop upon the current socio-political scenario of Eastern India in the serene and peaceful ambience of this island. The camp was scheduled to be conducted from 12th June, 2008 to 15th June, 2008 and would be presided over by Sri Tapan Kumar Ghosh, the National Convener of Hindu Samhati.








Pic: Sagar Island from the passenger ferry -
The venue of the camp was at the southern end of the island near the Kapil Muni Mandir. There are many rest houses for pilgrims in Sagar island, mostly run by different charities and religious or community trusts. Hindu Samhati had requested the Textile Merchant's Association of Kolkata for the use of their rest house or 'yatri nivas' and the association had most graciously offered their premises as a venue for the camp.








Pic: The Pilgrim's Rest House (Yatri Nivas) of the Calcutta Textile Merchant's Association.
The camp commenced in the afternoon of the 12th of June and was attended by a well disciplined and extremely enthusiastic group of about 170 people. The majority of the attendees were young men with a sprinkling of some older gentlemen. A group of about 12 ladies and some children were also present.
The first session session went extremely well. The session commenced with the recitation of Vedic mantras and then speeches were made by Sri Tapan Kumar Ghosh and other notables.







Pic: Attendees during the first session of the camp.








Pic: Sri Tapan Kumar Ghosh, National Convener of Hindu Samhati, delivering his speech.









Pic: Attendees going for a dip in the Sangam and a visit to the Mandir of Kapil Muni.
After afternoon tea, the camp attendees decided to take a holy dip at the sangam (confluence) and pay their obeisance at the temple of Kapil Muni, which is a short walk away from the venue.
Trouble started when they were returning from the sangam. Being young and enthusiastic some of them raised slogans of 'Jai Sri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and many others joined in. Surprisingly a number of Muslim cycle van drivers (and we have it on good authority that most of them are Bangladeshi infiltrators who have been sneaking in for the past few years), who ply their trade of transporting pilgrims around the mandir, took a serious exception and menacingly set upon the Hindu Samhati members. They roundly abused the HS members in a most threatening language and insisted that slogans like 'Jai Sri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' cannot be raised in Gangasagar! They maintained that these slogans are anti Islamic and it offends their religious sentiment! It belabours the intellect of even the most gullible as to how does raising one's voice in the praise of God and motherland offends Islam!








Pic: Fire in one corner of the building caused by petrol soaked fire bombs
Quite naturally the Hindu Samhati members told them off and an altercation ensued. The seniors among the group immediately intervened and tried to placate the situation. They asked both the parties to go their own way in peace. Unfortunately the Muslims proved implacable and the situation took a turn for the worse when some of them passed some lewd comments at the ladies of the group. The younger members of the group were furious but yet again the seniors intervened and somehow placated the situation. But threatening words flew even as the Hindu Samhati members began to walk back towards the venue. This happened at around 7 pm in the evening.








Pic: Fire started by petrol bombs raging in the kitchen.
After returning as the Hindu Samhati members were preparing for the next session, a great commotion ensued. As they ran out to see what was happening they witnessed a violent and murderous mob of about 1000 Muslims approaching. The mob was led by Sheikh Ismail, the CPI(M) backed President of the Sagar Panchayet Samity, Sukdev Panda, CPI(M) member of the Gangasagar Gram Panchayet and Malay Kayal, CPI(M) member of the South 24 Parganas Zilla Parishad representing Dakshin Sagar. Shouting slogans and hurling the foulest of abuses the mob tried to barge into the building and practically storm the place. Taken aback by the suddenness of the attack the Hindu Samhati members fell back. While the seniors tried to placate the attackers and restore normalcy, the leaders of the mob accused them of disrupting communal harmony and trying to instigate a riot. By now the mob was baying for blood, brickbats flew in like a hailstorm as cries of 'Nara-e-taqdir, Allahu Akbar' and 'inquilab zindabad' rent the air. At this juncture the mob broke down the gate and tried to force their way in uttering blood curdling threats of massacring everyone inside. Parts of the mob also fanned out towards the villages to gather more of their brethren. As a matter of fact, our fact finding team, which went to the spot a day later, heard from the locals that microphones in the mosques were used to drum up a mini jihad and call the faithful to war.








Pic: Policemen helping in dousing the flames.
In the meantime the Sagar Police Station had been intimated and a posse of 14 to 15 policemen arrived. However the Muslim mob had now surged to around 4000-5000 and practically laid a seige to the camp building. The small group of policemen were woefully inadequate to tackle a murderous mob that size although they lathi-charged and even fired 3-4 rounds in the air. But the Muslims took no heed of police warnings and stormed ahead. Totally unable to quell the mob, the police now fell back inside the building.
By this time the gate of the building had been forced open and the mob tried to storm in. Brickbats were raining in and a muslim mob nearly 5000 strong armed with lathis, iron rods and a vareity of sharp weapons laid a seige to the building. Fearing for their lives and even more apprehensive about the fate of the ladies, if the mob could reach them, the members now fought back desperately. Some of them rushed out with some cots to barricade the open gate while others threw back the hundreds of bricks and stones that rained upon them. Being totally unarmed, without even a broken stick, this was the only way they could defend themselves. By this time about 15 members had fallen down with serious injuries due to brickbats and lathi blows they received in trying to defend the gate. 4 or 5 of them were unconscious from severe head injuries. Two policemen had also fallen down due to head injuries resulting from direct hits with brickbats.







Pic: Camp members plying the water pump for dear life.
Unable to breach through the gate the mob of Muslims now tried a different tack. They started to break open the windows by hurling iron rods at them. Then they doused balls of cloth in petrol, set them alight and threw those fireballs inside the building to roast alive those who were trapped inside. Petrol bombs were made of small bottles filled with petrol, these too were set alight and hurled inside (remember Godhra?). Some of the more imaginative and enterprising of the Muslims dragged in a LPG cylinder and tried to explode it against the wall of the building. It was through God's grace they were unsuccessful otherwise there would have been a severe carnage.
Meanwhile inside the building the boys and the remaining policemen were frantically trying to douse the fires. They were pumping for dear life at the installed tubewell inside the premises and doused bucket loads of water on the petrol fire, rushing through the chocking black smoke. Unfortunately, as they were untrained







Pic: Injured policeman.
in the methods of dealing with petrol fires, the fire spread even faster as the petrol floated over the water.
The fire could only be contained when somebody urged them to choke the fire with wet blankets and moist earth from the potted plants in the compound.
By this time it was around 10:30 to 11:00 pm. As all their attempts of storming the building was meeting with failure, the crowd grew ever more furious and began to vent their anger and frustration else where. A number of neighbouring Hindu homes were assaulted and looted. Another Yatri Nivas, run by the VHP, was broken into, looted and set on fire. Though this building was 300 metres away from camp venue and had absolutely nothing to do with the Hindu Samhati training camp.








Pic: The injured in the Sri Vishuddhanand Hospital, Kolkata.
While this mayhem was going on members inside desperately tried to reach the police and administrative apparatus of the state and their other members and sympathisers outside through their mobile phones. Even though they received the calls the response of the administration especially that of the Superintendent of Police, South 24 Parganas, was dithering and lackadaisical. It was when the frantic calls for help reached other members and sympathisers in Kolkata, phone calls and emails began to rush out and kept rushing out throughout the night, to all corners of India and the world. Friends were rudely aroused from there well deserved sleep and asked to help. The busy office schedules of NRI sympathisers in the far corners of the world were severely disrupted as they were asked to organise assistance and spread the word of this outrage. And Hindus responded. Throughout India and the world. Phones kept ringing, the powers that be in Delhi was nudged and prodded and the need for immediate and affirmative action was stressed through various channels.
It was the pressure of opinion, the mounting Hindu outrage and anger and maybe the fear of severe repercussions if any casualties took place, that whipped the lethargic state machinery into action. By 1:30 am a large police force including a battalion of RAF had reached. The Muslim miscreants tried to put up roadblocks they were beaten down. The police then reached the venue and dispersed the seige of the camp building.
This was by no means the end of things. The Government which dragged its foot in providing speedy assistance to the beleaguered attendees of the camp - whose lives were in danger - now brazenly enacted another travesty of law and justice. The assaulters, who were bent on committing murder and mayhem, were allowed to hold an all party peace and communal harmony meeting on the spot! While the innocent organisers and attendees of the Hindu Samhati camp who had been peaceful, unarmed and victims of the most violent and blood thirsty assault, had their camp and workshop cancelled. The Hindu Samhati members were immediately whisked away by the police and forcibly removed from the island. The more seriously injured were rushed to Kolkata and has been admitted to Sri Vishuddhanand Saraswati Marwari Hospital.
15 members of Hindu Samhati were arrested by the police and produced in Kakdwip court on the 13th of June, 2008. The police slapped completely baseless cases on them under various sections of the IPC like 'incitement to rioting and disruption of communal harmony', 'carrying illegal arms', 'attempt to murder', etc. In court bail was denied to them on the 13th and 13 of them were remanded to Judicial custody. While Sri Tapan Kumar Ghosh, The National Convener of Hindu Samhati and Sri Sundar Gopal Das was remanded to Police custody. Both of them are now in Kakdwip Police Station. All of them would again be produced in court on the 17th of June.
A fact finding team of Hindu Samhati visited Sagar Island on the 14th of June. They visited the trouble spots and met with the police. They witnessed that the fire in the VHP run yatri nivas was still smouldering even after one and a half days. The report of our team would be uploaded as soon as it is finalised.
At the end of this lengthy and painful report we really wonder if a peaceful Hindu gathering can be assaulted with such viciousness and impunity in one of the most sacred Hindu sites of pilgrimage, one shudders to think what lies in store for the Hindus of West Bengal a few years hence!
Pic: The Yatri Nivas run by VHP in Sagar still burning.
Pic: Smoke billowing out of the windows.
Pic: The burnt out shell of a portion of the Yatri Nivas.
Pic: These cots were meant for poor pilgrims who cannot afford hotels.
Pic: Broken furniture after the ransack.
Pic: Huge stock of mattresses, blankets and quilts meant for the pilgrims - still burning.
Pic: Fire in the pilgrim's kitchen, unfortunately not for preparing a meal.
(Next instalment - the report of our fact finding team.)
Hindu Samhati.

Comments

Sridharan said…
Try to organise a sammelan of all the Hindu organisations like the VHP,Sanathan sanstha, Ramakrishna Mission, Vana vasi kalyan Kendra, sewa Bharti, Amritanannda mayi ashram , Swami narayan sanstha etc. then it will be a big event. these wolves cannot do anything then. Or announce a holy dip at the sangam for the poor people in the entire Bengal and Bharat so that people willw come in large numbers.tell them that arrangements for food ,tent and satsanghs wil be there. they will come in large number. if the government bans it then the Hindus will know about the injustice and there will be awakenig .

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