oppn parties Communal Politics Harming Bengal

News Snippets

  • Last date for filing Income Tax returns by salaried employees extended to August 31
  • Supreme Court extends Assam NRC deadline to August 31
  • Prohibitory orders clamped in Bengaluru. Wine shops, pubs, bars and restaurants ordered closed for the next 48 hours
  • Congress still trying to avoid the floor test in Karnataka
  • 75 percent of the jobs in all private sector firms to be reserved for locals in Andhra Pradesh
  • Supreme Court will hear the petition of two independent MLAs seeking a direction to the Karnataka Speaker to hold the trust vote "forthwith"
  • Congress-JD(S) and a partisan Speaker push the Karnataka trust vote to Tuesday
  • Panel submits draft legislation to the government to criminalize mining, investing and trading of crypto-currencies
  • Government panel suggest a ban on crypto-currencies
  • Lok Sabha passes RTI Act amendment bill amid protests by the Opposition
  • Jasprit Bumrah rested for ODIs and T20s
  • Dinesh Kartik ignored across fromats
  • Rohit Sharma included in Test team too while Wriddhiman Saha makes a comeback after injury
  • Virat Kohli retained as captain across formats for the West Indies tour
  • MS Dhoni decides to take a two-month break, will skip West Indies tour but will not retire
Congress-JD(S) government loses trust vote in Karnataka. BJP might stake claim to form the government
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Communal Politics Harming Bengal

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
What is happening in Bashirhat, about 100 kilometres away from Kolkata in West Bengal, is shameful and dangerous. After the Muslim community took exception to a post about Prophet Mohammed on Facebook, things went out of hand and both communities indulged in arson, looting and rioting. Claims and counter claims abound about who attacked first, who suffered more and why things went out of hand. The role of the local MLA, former footballer Dibyendu Biswas of the TMC, the local administration and the police has been questioned. Biswas has been summoned by the TMC brass to Kolkata to answer about his alleged involvement in allowing musclemen from one community to target people from the other. The police have been alleged to have favoured one community. The TMC has alleged that local and national BJP leaders made provocative statements that inflamed passions in the area. This is certainly not the way things should have been handled.

When the defamatory Facebook post surfaced, the police and the administration should have anticipated a flare-up. They should have called local Muslim leaders and made it known to them that they were taking all steps mandated by the IT Act and IPC to bring the offender to book. They should have also pressed upon them the futility of organizing local street protests about something that did not have local connotations. Simultaneously, they should have called local Hindu leaders to tell them about Muslim grievances and the need to assuage feelings. But nothing of the sort happened. Rowdies in both communities were given a free hand and things went from bad to worse within a short span of time. Neighbours living in harmony for decades turned enemies for no reason at all.

Mamata Banerjee’s government has a good record of maintaining communal peace. But first Howrah and now Bashirhat have raised questions about the intentions of the administration. As the BJP jostles to gain political space in the state, the large Muslim community feels its political importance will be reduced. At such a time, the TMC feels that it should side with the community. But this move is backfiring as more and more people think it is a policy of appeasement. Of course it will work to BJP’s favour as it wants to consolidate the Hindu vote in the state. Didi has a tough job on her hands as she needs to keep her Muslim vote bank intact without further alienating the Hindus. But this communal politics is eating at the vitals of Bengal.