Basirhat violence: Night vigils keep smugglers off; tension hits tourism

Besides smuggling of various items, including gold and cows, Basirhat and adjoining areas are known to act as conduits for cross-border trafficking and infiltration. Villagers stated that youths in the villages have formed night guard parties.

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Basirhat | Published:July 10, 2017 12:19 am
Basirhat violence, Basirhat commubal violence, hindu muslim violence, Basirhat facebook violence, indian express news, india news, kolkata violence, latest A poster carrying a message of Hindu-Muslim unity, at a shop in Basirhat on Sunday. Express photo

As Basirhat limps back to normalcy in the wake of communal violence over a Facebook post, villagers say illegal movement of men and material across the border has seen a drastic dip. “The border has been quiet over the past few days. Usually, movement of men and material takes place during the night. But since the area is in the grip of tension, people stay awake and night guards keep vigil. Smuggling has stopped,” said Md Allauddin Mondol, a trader at Shakchura village, located just a kilometre from the border.

Besides smuggling of various items, including gold and cows, Basirhat and adjoining areas are known to act as conduits for cross-border trafficking and infiltration. Villagers stated that youths in the villages have formed night guard parties.

“Muslims account for 90 per cent of the population of our village. Since the tension spread, we formed teams of night guards to keep a watch on shops and religious places. We are also keeping an eye out for outsiders. This has thwarted the smugglers. Some people in our village, who are involved in such activities, are now lying low,” said Biswanath Dey, who owns a shop at the local market.

“Generally, the smugglers use motorbikes. But over the past few days, there has been little to no movement of motorbikes or vehicles due to the tension in the area,” said Ansarul Gazi, a villager.

According to local residents, heavy deployment of security personnel along the border following the communal clash has also contributed to the dip in smuggling activities across the border. “We are keeping a tight vigil along the border to ensure that nothing adds to the problem. Four companies of BSF have been pressed to maintain law and order in the Basirhat area,” said a senior BSF officer.

The communal tension has also hit tourism in the area. Taki town, which is separated from Bangladesh by the Icchamati river, and is major tourist spot, has hardly seen any visitor since the violence. “On an average, I get over 70 customers daily. The number goes up on Sundays. But as you can see, there is no one now. This has been the situation since trouble started in Baduria and Basirhat areas,” said Bimal Dey, owner of Maa Mamatamoyee restaurant and hotel on the Taki riverside.

While tension continues to prevail in the area, no untoward incident was reported on Sunday. Some shops and business establishments opened, while a few autos, buses and trucks were seen plying on the Taki road. “We have held peace meetings and joint rallies over the past two days. Everyone here, Hindus or Muslims, wants to live peacefully together,” said Md Noor Islam Gazi, a resident of Basirhat who participated in the peace meetings held in the presence of police and administrative officials.

Meanwhile, some villagers said that the cross-border movement saw a surge on Monday and Tuesday, just before the violence. BSF officials, however, refused to comment on this.

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  1. S
    Jul 11, 2017 at 6:11 am
    Mataz bibi has turned Bengal into WASTE BENGAL and mini Bangladesh. Wake up all Hindus and take arms to save your mothers and sisters from these barbaric terrorists. Gujarat did it in 2002 and you can do it too. Save Bengal, save your mothers and sisters
    1. D
      Damodar Biswal
      Jul 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm
      Request all secular people to be very careful in their comment n restrain from commenting anything which may aggravate the existing communal tension.However,one is free to make comments on the situation n how it was mishandled by the TMC Govt.
      1. S
        Jul 11, 2017 at 6:13 am
        you mean all SICKULAR people like you! why you want Hindus to be in receiving end? those days are gone, Modi has taught the Hindus on how to give back to the enemies
      2. J
        John Daniels
        Jul 10, 2017 at 6:44 am
        Is this happening in West Bangal? Hindus BEAWARE An explosive new BBC documentary, Betrayed Girls, reveals how dozens of teens were groomed in broad daylight on the streets by older men and why the crime was buried for decades in the English town of Rochdale, near Manchester. The men were Muslims from Pakistan and they ually exploited the girls.
        1. A
          Jul 10, 2017 at 4:57 am
          How come an innocent image of Mecca and Mohammed can be so bad that a Muslim majority area goes into riots and burn Hindus shops and houses. Didnyou hear anything about Aamir Khan's house torched in a Hindu majority areas for his Blasphemy of Hindu religion in PK? Did you ever hear MF Hussain's house in majority Hindu area being torched and burnt or any riots for his portray of Hindu Goddess in bad colors? How come the communal jihadi Muslims always find a way to create riots and the media always find no fault of Islam even though all riots happens in Muslim majority areas. Why?