oppn parties Communal Politics Harming Bengal

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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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.