In a stark contrast from last year’s communal tensions during Durga Puja following religious vandalism in Bangladesh, a club in West Tripura’s border Golchakkar area is setting examples of communal harmony this time.
As the name suggests, Border Golchakkar is close to the Indo-Bangla international border and the Akhaura International Check Post (ICP) and covers several nearby habitations like Policepara, Biswas Para, Kalikapur, a slum etc. The area is less than 500 metre from the international border.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Ramu Acharjee, who heads the Jubak Sangha, a local club, said, “Ours is a 40-year-old club. We have nearly equal Hindu and Muslim population of around 10-15 thousand each. We work together in social festivals, including Durga Puja, every year. This year is no exception.”
He said this year the club is organising Durga Puja with a Hindu as the organising secretary and a Muslim joint secretary and members of both communities have been given key responsibilities.
The Jubak Sangha isn’t a big club and doesn’t have a huge budget, Acharjee said. Most of its funds are spent in helping locals with their children’s weddings, house repairs, aids and assistance etc since many of the local residents are from the slum and are very poor.
“The budget was raised to around Rs 4 lakh this year and even this amount is very less for any club in the city. A lot of devotees are coming this year, since the fear of Covid is relatively less and the communal tension from last year is absent.”
A resident of the area and a key functionary in the puja, Md Vishaluddin said the locality is known for communal harmony and even when parts of Tripura, including Agartala, experienced communal tensions, Border Golchakkar was absolutely peaceful.
“This year, the situation is even better. We have all come together to pray that peace and brotherhood stay strong. We are all Indians and we are one. At Golchakkar, we have lived through this all our lives. We believe Durga Puja will further solidify our unity,” he said.
Last year, after religious vandalism was perpetrated in Durga Puja pandals and temples of Bangladesh over social media posts of having religious scriptures placed at the feet of idols, a series of instances of communal violence, vandalism at temples and attacks on Hindu minorities were reported from different parts of the country.
In protests against these incidents, a few rallies were taken out by religious organisations in Tripura and reports of prohibited meat being thrown in mosques and vandalism at abandoned temples and Muslim prayer houses were reported. There were clashes with the police and vandalisms in houses and shops of minorities. Several people were arrested in subsequent police action as the government assured communal disturbances would not be tolerated.