Asking Hindus in the state to have more children to tackle the demographic imbalance in future, a Hindutva organisation on Wednesday gave the call of “ghar wapsi” — to “reconvert” Muslims — and presented 14 members of a Muslim family who have ostensibly “returned” to the Hindu fold at a rally in Kolkata on Wednesday. Four members of Hindu Samhati, an outfit established in Bengal about a decade ago, were arrested in the evening for physically assaulting mediapersons who tried to pose questions to the family after the rally at Rani Rashmoni Road in central Kolkata. Two journalists were injured in the incident. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the assault on scribes and said strong action will be taken against those involved.
Addressing the crowd, Tapan Ghosh, chief adviser of Hindu Samhati, said, “Hussain Ali and his wife Moyna Bibi, as well as 12 family members, have been reconverted. Their ancestors were converted, and now we welcome them as Hindus on stage. Earlier we used to do this (conversion) secretly, but now we will do this in public.” Emphasising that the family’s address will not be divulged, Ghosh said, “I give a call of ghar wapsi [used by Hindutva organisations to refer to conversion from Islam to Hinduism]. When you return, initiate this movement in your districts and blocks — let us welcome all Muslims to Hinduism.”
Ali and Moyna Bibi’s family members, including children, were given Hindu Samhati’s saffron flag on the stage, cheered by the crowd. Maj Gen G D Bakshi (retired) was among the guests on stage. State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said, “Such organisations demean Hindu religion, just as the Taliban demeans Islam. The government will take proper action against those who beat up journalists.”
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Praveen Tripathi confirmed that four people from Hindu Samhati were arrested. During the rally, Ghosh called for Sealdah station to be renamed Shyamaprasad Mukherjee terminal, and demanded installing a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose near Parliament. Outfit’s president, Debtanu Bhattacharya, criticised both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP for allegedly wooing Muslims.
Accusing the chief minister of “Muslim appeasement” even after “she was voted to power by Hindus”, Bhattacharya said, “Mamata Banerjee claims that West Bengal has a 32 per cent Muslim population. But in districts with more than 50 per cent Muslims — such as Malda and Murshidabad — her party’s performance is worse. They do not have Lok Sabha MPs there (from those districts). This proves she won with the help of Hindu votes.”
Bhattacharya said BJP leaders are following the same policy in the state. “BJP MP Roopa Ganguly visits Muslims (households); meets those who have been victims of atrocities, but not Hindus.”