Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humayun Kabir, an IPS officer considered to be close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the first to attribute a “taunt” to the communal clash in Telinipara, Hooghly, West Bengal, where the houses of many Hindus were burned by a mob on late Sunday evening and again on early Tuesday afternoon.
According to a report by Swarajya, the IPS officer had told the media that some Hindus subjected a small group of Muslim men to ‘corona’ taunt. This had allegedly triggered the Muslims, who then went on to attack the Hindus with socket bombs, gas cylinders fitted with detonators, swords and other lethal weapons, iron rods and bricks.
It is pertinent to note here that Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humayun Kabir is the same officer who was removed as Murshidabad district police chief by the Election Commission before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on charges of favouring the ruling Trinamool Congress.
The IPS officer had said that some Hindu men hurled the “taunt” after a few Muslims from the Urdi Bazar in Chandannagar had recently tested positive for coronavirus. And it was because of this “taunt”, according to the Bengal government, that the enraged Muslims went back to their locality and informed other fellow Muslims about the taunt. They, then, returned with lethal weapons and attacked the Hindus, but police intervened promptly and peace was restored, claimed the officer.
Even if one is to believe this narrative, this Telinipara incident gives us an insight into the prevailing situation in Bengal, where a mere “taunt” can lead Muslims to attack Hindus and vandalise and torch houses and properties belonging to them, highlights the Swarajya report.
The IPS officer, Humayun Kabir had reportedly further said that after taunting the group of Muslim men, Hindus blocked access to a public toilet that is used by Muslims. The latter objected and the verbal clash that ensued eventually snowballed into a communal clash.
BJP MP Locket Chatterjee condemned the Telinipara incident, criticises WB police and Govt
Hooghly Lok Sabha MP Locket Chatterjee and others had stated that after some Muslims who returned from a pilgrimage to Ajmer very recently, tested positive for coronavirus, locals of Chandannagar became alert and tried to restrict the entry of outsiders into their localities.
“Muslims were roaming around wantonly and Hindus got alarmed. The Hindus of Chandannagar felt the Muslims were deliberately roaming around all over the place to spread the deadly virus and ensure a lot of people got infected. So Hindus erected barricades to protect themselves. Muslims broke through the barricades and attacked Hindus on late Sunday evening for erecting the barricades,” said Chatterjee.
The BJP MP furthered that West Bengal police’s inaction and callousness on Sunday had encouraged the Muslims in the area who again attacked the Hindus on Tuesday in a more ferocious manner. Chatterjee said Tuesday’s attack was premeditated and well-planned where the Muslims used socket bombs, gas cylinders fitted with detonators to attack the Hindus.
Police Commissioner Kabir said on Wednesday that a huge quantity of explosives has been seized. “Our bomb squads are there. As of now, we have recovered petrol bombs and socket bombs. They have also used cylinders as explosives.”
“The recovery of explosives points to the fact that one particular community stockpiles weapons and explosives. Why is that so? This is a grave failure on the part of the police. How can explosives be stockpiled under the nose of the police, and that too during the ongoing lockdown” asked BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.
Internet ban by WB Govt after Telinipara incident
She further alleged that WB police were instead arresting the Hindus who had erected barricades to prevent the entry of outsiders into their localities. “The indiscriminate and one-sided arrests have spread fear and led people to believe that the police are biased. This bias, they apprehend, will embolden Sunday night’s and Tuesday afternoon’s attackers to launch another wave of attacks,” the MP said.
The gagging of the local media by the Hooghly district administration has also raised doubts about the state’s intentions. The gag order issued by the district magistrate also includes visuals of violence and statements about it by politicians.
“This is a blatant attempt to browbeat the local media and stop it from presenting the truth,” said Lok Sabha MP Chatterjee.
On Tuesday, there were fresh cases of violence, the videos of which have now gone viral on social media. It is alleged that the Hindu homes were set on fire and bombs were hurled by a Muslim mob. Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee has alleged that the attacks were preplanned and the police stood as a mute spectator. Chatterjee further alleged that lethal weapons were transported in ambulances and women and children were also attacked.
West Bengal govt focuses on ‘misinformation’
As Bengal burned, the Home Department of the West Bengal government claimed that Telinipara is peaceful and warned of ‘strict action’ against those who were trying to ‘disturb the peace’. As per reports, 56 persons have been arrested and police raids are on to nab the culprits. Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed to maintain law and order and mobile internet services are suspended.