CONDEMNING THE violence at Baduria and Basirhat in North-24 Parganas, Muslim leaders on Thursday asked members of the community to show restraint. The leaders, who addressed mediapersons in Kolkata, claimed they suspect a larger conspiracy behind the incident. They maintained Muslims should not have resorted to violence once the student — who had uploaded a derogatory post on Facebook, leading to communal tension in the area — was taken into police custody.
“We condemn all acts of violence at Baduria and Basirhat, where normal life has been thrown out of gear. What the student has done is a heinous crime but once administration had stepped in and police detained him, there was no point in people going on a rampage,” said Abdul Aziz, general secretary of Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity, on the sidelines of a press meet. He added that as soon as they would get permission from the administration, they would send a delegation to the riot-torn area. “We will go there with the message of peace and urge people to maintain peace and harmony. I have already spoken to some people and told them that digging up the road, placing logs to block roads and damaging vehicles were unbecoming of an ideal Muslim. We believe that the whole incident was RSS’ conspiracy and our resorting to violence would only help them in their purpose,” said Aziz.
Shabbir Ali Azad, a member of the forum, said the protest should have been peaceful. “The Facebook post was insulting and disturbing but our Constitution empowers us with the right to protest in several peaceful ways. People should have opted for those,” he added. The leaders claimed a conspiracy is being hatched to defame Muslims and to create communal tension in parts of the state. They warned other members of the community not to fall into the trap.
Since Monday, communal tension spread in Basirhat, Baduria and other parts of North-24 Parganas bordering Bangladesh. Irate mob had vandalised government properties, homes and shops. One person died in the violence. Four companies of central forces have been called in to maintain law and order in the district.