Basanti Puja desecrated, destructed in South Dinajpur
Islamists yet to be arrested; Hindus thrashed for protesting
On April 9, 2014, the village of Dhalahat within the Harirampur police station’s jurisdiction in the district of Dinajpur (South) remained witness to dastardly attacks of Islamists on Basanti Puja. The Basanti Puja organized by tribal Hindus inhabiting the area for generations was smashed up while the Holy Deity was defiled and destructed and both were done by the unruly mob comprising radical Muslims. When enraged Hindus protested, they were beaten hollow by the local police evidencing how the pro-minority policy has crippled the reigning governance. Hindus were arrested in large numbers; police immersed remnants of the Deity in a nearby pond without their consent.
According to villagers, the Basanti Puja is being observed by tribal Hindus in the village for decades, if not more, and this occasion plays a great role to assemble Hindus, cutting across all differences, under a single front. It was Dashami or last day of the Puja on 9 th April and a fair was also going on in the premises of Dhalahat Primary School as a part of the celebration. As people from all walks of life visit the fair, presence of Muslims there, hence, is no wonder. On the fateful day, at 5 pm a few Muslims were found to run a makeshift gambling casino. The endeavor was against the principle of the religious fair and so, it astonished many people who lost no time to inform the fair’s executive committee. Members of the committee went there and asked Muslim youths to stop it immediately. But the proposal was declined and it led to a fuss. Albeit there was no incitement, Islamists assailed Hindu members of the committee with lethal weapons all of a sudden making all realize that it was a premeditated design to foil the fair and also moral fiber of Hindus. The vast presence of Islamists overpowered Hindu members of the committee soon.
The rage of Islamists spread to other directions fast and the Puja pandal turned into its sole target. After ransacking the committee’s office, radical Muslims entered the pandal in strength. The Holy Deity was defiled and then destructed by boots. No resister was left unharmed and even Hindu women were molested by the violent mob. People who got severe injuries included Dilip Murmu (age 40), Gobinda Murmu (18), Sayla Saren (20), Falku Saren (21), Ananta Sarkar (22), Rabin Murmu (28). Women who became victims of molestation included Padamoni Hansda (age 28), Pinki Murmu (30), Saily Kisku (35). It has been learnt, Dilip Murmu is admitted in Harirampur Hospital at the moment and is in a critical condition now.
The news of murderous assault by Islamists did spread like a wild fire in the locality; remnants of the destructed Holy Deity angered Hindus most. The enraged mob comprising tribal and non-tribal Hindus started protesting and from 8 pm, they blocked Itahar – Daulatpur Road demanding immediate arrest of the felons. Even if the police of Harirampur PS was duly informed of the entire development, it steered clear of mitigating the situation. At 2 am, a large contingent of RAF along with police turned up at the spot and without any warning, they charged at the protestors to lift the blockade. Several people got inured while 11 protestors were arrested. What followed next is a gross violation of Indian legal system; without having consent of Hindus, the desecrated and destructed Holy Deity was immersed by police in the pond.
Even if police has claimed to arrest people from both communities (Hindus are completely innocent in this case), locals confirm that no Islamist has been taken into custody yet. What’s more, Anikul Islam, s/o, Anisur, Sadikul Islam, s/o, Anisur, Minarul Islam, s/o, Thamba Islam, all resident of Manohara Dangapara who allegedly led the assault have been found to roam freely.
Hindu Samhati regularly monitors and reports violations against Hindus in West Bengal. We also work with both governmental and NGO agencies for proper education on protection and ensure remedies to the Hindu populace as per prevailing law of the land.