Preliminary observations of a fact finding team
The violent conflict in Kaliachak of Malda on January 3 seems neither a religious feud nor an attack of one community over the other. The conflict raised at best was a handiwork of some anti-social elements present in the rally protesting against the police. It’s they who attacked the police station, and damaged some houses and shops. In the police firing one of them also got gunshot injury. The whole incident was a shameful and a condemned one and completely unjustifiable. However, such an incidence was used to spread hatred and misunderstanding between communities, which is equally condemnable.
It needs to be noted that protests against the remarks of Kamlesh Tiwari, leader of Hindu Mahasabha, about the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad was observed in many corners of the country, including in Araria, Forbesganj, Bessie (Purnia), Katihar etc. in Bihar. In the same regard, the January 3rd protests in Kaliachak, Malda was also organized. However, the way this conflict has been covered in the media especially in some electronic media, its quite disturbing and troublesome.
It was even after ten days of the conflict, that there was still some deliberate confusion with regard to the incident was being spread and a communal angle was being attached that a few members of Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS), an alied member of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), decided to visit the area to understand the reasons behind the conflict.
JJSS constituted a three-member team for the same which comprised of journalist-social activist Mr. Naseeruddin, Mr. Ashish Ranjan and Ms. Shohini Lahiri. The team was guided by Mr. Jishnu Roychowdhury from the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights(APDR). They reached Malda on the 16th of January and returned on 17thJanuary, 2016. The members had a talk with especially those people of the community who were said to be victimised. A summary of their observations and conclusions are being presented here.
Ranjeet Paswan, Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan
For Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan
National Alliance of People’s Movements
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