December 10, 2017 3:53:43 am
A DAY after Mohammed Afrazul’s body was brought from Rajasthan and the last rights performed in Malda, in northern West Bengal, several political leaders visited the family members at their home in Saiyadpur, about 40 km from Malda town, on Saturday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who on Friday announced government job for one family member of the murdered labourer and Rs 3 lakh to the family, has already asked party MPs to raise the issue in Parliament, protest in Delhi and take up the issue nationally.
On Saturday, two of Banerjee’s Cabinet colleagues — Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim and Transport Minister and the party’s observer for Malda Suvendu Adhikari — and three senior MPs from the Trinamool Congress, including the party’s Parliamentary leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, visited the family. West Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury and the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya also met them.
Afrazul, who worked as a labourer in Rajasthan, was killed and burnt to death in Rajsamand district on Wednesday. The accused, Shambhulal Regar, has been arrested. Afrazul’s wife Gulbahar Bibi said on Saturday, “The CM called me up…. I told her that we want justice, and protection for our men who go to work outside. I said the same thing to the MPs, MLAs and political leaders who came home today. I am grateful that she (Banerjee) called.”
“We will not only raise the issue in Parliament, when it convenes for Winter Session, but also take the protest to Delhi. Talks are already on with other political parties, and we welcome all parties to join us in condemning this barbaric act. Divisive forces are at work in the country,” Bandopadhyay told villagers after meeting the family members.
TMC Lok Sabha MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Sougata Roy accompanied Bandopadhyay. The ruling party leaders handed over Rs 2 lakh to Gul Bahar along with papers of her widow pension. They told her that besides a job to one of her three daughters, the state government will also take care of the education of her youngest daughter.
Senior Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said, “This is a barbaric incident. Lawlessness is prevailing in the country, and the country will be divided and destroyed this way.” CPI(M) Lok Sabha MP Mohammed Selim said, “It is a painful and horrific incident. The state government should talk with the Centre on the issue for protection of people who work outside (the state).”
The BJP has not sent a team to meet the family yet. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said, “Any death or killing is painful. We condemn it. However, it should be investigated what drove the man who committed this crime. The man spoke about certain things in the video (“love jihad”, a word used by Hindutva forces for Muslim men marrying Hindu women to ostensibly propagate Islam).”
Sinha also said, “One should go deep in investigating the issue. The man may have been a fanatic. The guilty should be punished.” State Minister Firhad Hakim said, “There is a BJP government in both Rajasthan and at the Centre but they have failed to protect innocent people. We will make sure we get justice for the family.” Starting that this is not the first such case of violence, Hakim said, “People are being murdered for keeping their choice of food in refrigerator, or because they are holding a cow…”
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