An attack on a group of Muslim clerics belonging to Furfura Sharif — a mazar in Hooghly district — last week is fast turning into a major showdown for the Trinamool Congress before the last two rounds of Lok Sabha polls in the state. Furfura Sharif is a much-respected shrine for Bengali Muslims.
At a media conference in Kolkata Saturday evening, Ibrahim Siddiqui and Kasem Siddiqui — descendants of the founders of the Furfura Sharif — attacked the TMC for “letting loose a reign of terror against those who spoke against the party”. They targeted chief minister Mamata Banerjee for offering a flurry of promises to Muslims but fulfilling none.
They regretted that the empty promises were driving a wedge between Muslims and Muslims and between Muslims and Hindus as well.
Ibrahim Siddiqui recounted that a group of Trinamool Congress supporters, allegedly at the behest of TMC MLA Arabul Islam, beat up the clerics when they holding a meeting at Bhangar in South 24-Parganas on April 29.
The TMC supporters warned them from speaking against the ruling party.
Ibrahim Siddiqui and Kasem Siddiqui hid in a nearby house, which was allegedly gheraoed by TMC men, till the police came to their rescue. Ibrahim Siddiqui said Arabul Islam also arrived and apologised and escorted them out of Bhangar.
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Former IPS officer Nazrul Islam, Azizul Haq, a former Naxalite and writer, and Farque Ahmed, editor of several publications, including Udar Akkash, a magazine dealing with issues of interests for Muslims, were present at the meeting where Muslim clerics announced that they have already given a deputation to the Governor demanding arrest of the culprits and an unconditional apology from the TMC government.
Ibrahim Siddiqui and Kasem Siddiqui said they will launch a massive movement against the “appeasement policies” and the policy of “divisiveness” of TMC after the elections.
Meanwhile, TMC spokesman Partha Chatterjee accused a section of clerics of indulging in politics and urged them not to do so. The Pirjadas condemned Chatterjee’s statement as well.