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BJP seeks cleric’s arrest over ‘provocative speech’ in video

An organisation named ‘Bangla Pokhho Charitable Trust’ wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accusing the cleric of spreading communalism. Copies of the letter were also sent to the Commissioner of Kolkata Police and the Director General of West Bengal Police.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
October 18, 2021 4:20:18 am
Bangladesh, Bangladesh religious clashes, Bangladesh temples vandalised, ISKCON, Bangladesh ISKCON, Bangladesh minority, Bangladesh hindus, Sheikh Hasina, Dhaka, Feni, World news, Indian express, Indian express news, current affairsLast month, a mob allegedly attacked an ISKCON temple in Bangladesh’s Noakhali district, killing one of its members. (Twitter/@iskcon)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has joined several other organisations in demanding the arrest of Muslim cleric Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui over a video clip where he is purportedly seen making a “provocative” speech with reference to the ongoing atrocities on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh.

The cleric later issued a state condemning the violence in the neighbouring state.

An organisation named ‘Bangla Pokhho Charitable Trust’ wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accusing the cleric of spreading communalism. Copies of the letter were also sent to the Commissioner of Kolkata Police and the Director General of West Bengal Police.

Siddique also heads the Indian Secular Front (ISF), a political outfit which fought the West Bengal Assembly polls in alliance with the Left Front and the Congress.

The letter reads, “A video message recently spread on social media shows fundamentalist politician Abbas Siddiqui making intensely aggressive communal statements. Attempts are being made to disturb peace in Bengal by dragging the issue of Bangladesh’s present situation.”

In the video which is being circulated on social media, the cleric is purportedly heard saying, “In a temple in Comilla, Bangladesh, a picture of Hanuman has been placed with (a copy of) the holy Quran at his feet. They can worship Hanuman but why insult the Quran? I condemn this act.”

At the end of the clip, he is purportedly shown as saying that a conspiracy was afoot to “destroy Islam”.

As the clip went viral, Siddique issued a statement saying he did attend an event but did so as a religious leader as it wasn’t a political rally. “Criminals have no religion. I don’t think those who insulted the Holy Quran by vandalising a Puja mandap (pandal) in Bangladesh and later attacked several religious centres and temples of our Hindu brothers have any religion,” Siddique said.

However, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha accused the cleric of instigating communal violence in the state. “Abbas Siddiqui is trying to whip up communal passions across the state. I would appeal to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take action against Abbas Siddiqui and punish him for his remarks,” Sinha said in a video statement.

Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “Abbas Siddiqui’s statement is highly reprehensible. Communal politics has never been tolerated by the Congress, it has been fighting it for centuries and will continue to do so in the days to come. Protecting the harmony of Bengal and the country is much more important to the Congress than a few votes.”

Meanwhile, denying communal tensions in one or two pockets of the state as claimed by the BJP, the police urged people not to spread or pay heed to rumours while asking political leaders not to make unverified statements. BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh had earlier claimed in a tweet that an idol of Goddess Durga was vandalised at the Egra Central Bus Stand in Purba Medinipur district.

However, However, the police claimed no violence or vandalism was reported at any Puja pandal in the state, adding that there was a minor incident of a few children taking some items from a Puja pandal while leaving.on West Bengal Police’s official Twitter handle. “There are attempts to communalise this incident. One child has been identified as a member of a Hindu family. Strict legal action will be taken against those who spread fake news. @WBPolice,” the state police tweeted.

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