UPDATE OF KETUGRAM INCIDENT, BARDHAMAN
In the Ketugram Hindu persecution incident of Bardhaman district on 12 April, the Shiv Puja (Gajan) procession of the Hindus were attacked by the Muslims and later forcibly stopped by the police and the puja ritual was left incomplete. Furthermore police barricaded the entire village and disallowed any ingress or egress. It is reported that the whole incident took place at the instigation of Abdul Gaffar, the I.C. of the Ketugram PS, who played a very mischievous and nakedly partisan role. He arrested 4 Hindus : Tapan Sengupta, Mithu Dasgupta, Nadu Hajra, Mithun Dey. 3 Hindus have been injured - Arun hajra, Kheru Hajra, Madhu and 65 year old mother of Naru Modak. Taimur Rahman [Tutul], Panchaayat Pradhan-Ketugram 2, also played a dubious role.
However, some of the families inside Ketugram have got computers and also internet connections, and somehow or the other they came across the reportage of the Ketugram persecution in Hindu Samhati’s website. The word got around the entire village. Heartened and emboldened by the worldwide publicity of their plight by a strong Hindu organization, the villagers informed the govt. officials that their persecution has got international publicity through the net. They also informed the police that if their grievances are not solved, then they will seek the active intervention of Hindu Samhati and invite Shri Tapan Ghosh to come to Ketugram and start an agitation.
This ultimatum seems to have sent a shockwave through the district police and administration, and immediately set the wheels in motion. Yesterday (14/04/2013) the local MLA (TMC) Sheikh Shahnawaz, District Magistrate Shri Omkar Singh Meena and the Addl. S.P. of Bardhaman came to the village and invited the Hindu and Muslim villagers to a meeting for an amicable solution to the impasse. The meeting took place in the community hall Aikyatan Lodge.
As per the information received from our people in the area, the Hindu villagers had presented a charter of 4 demands to the magistrate. They are:
1) The communal IC, Abdul Gaffar should be suspended immediately.
2) All the Hindus arrested in the police action must be released immediately and unconditionally.
3) The interrupted ritual bathing must be allowed to be completed.
4) The procession for the ritual bath in the Ganga must be allowed to proceed along the traditional route with the accompaniment of 100 drums (dhak). That means that the procession must be allowed to proceed in front of the mosque with drumbeats and all.
5) It must be guaranteed by the administration that henceforth the procession for ritual bath of Shiva deities must be allowed to proceed along the same route for every year in future.
In that meeting the Muslim representatives spouted an incessant stream of peace and brotherly love. It appears that the local Muslim community has got into a panic mode.
We have been informed that the DM has agreed to all the demands, and have asked the villagers to fix a date for the completion of the ritual bath themselves. But it is still in the stage of hearsay. Since the courts are closed today, release of the arrestees will have to wait till tomorrow. Also we will need 2-3 days to verify whether the demands of the villagers are met in full and the administration keeps its word.