Land donated for temple turns into Madrasa in North 24 Parganas; Mirrors the deteriorating Law and Order in West Bengal
A heirless widow had donated three bighas of land to the panchayat for building a temple, hospital or school. But the administration converted it into the local office ‘Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education Department’.
- Suman Bhattacharyya
(Image for representation purpose only)
The district of North 24 Parganas in West Bengal witnessed the third major crisis in law and order during the last one month.
The third major incident has occurred on 20 January in Gobardanga, at Lakshmipur village under Bergum village Panchayat. A local heirless widow, Nirmala Das, had donated three bighas of land to the panchayat for building a temple, hospital or school. The construction was carried on for two years and the villagers were told about a community hall being built at the site. The villagers felt deceived when they saw a board declaring it to be the office of the ‘Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education Department’.
The villagers, deeply aggrieved at this betrayal, started protesting. The resistance against the peaceful protests of the villagers led to the blockade of the Bongaon- Basirhat and the Habra-Basirhat connector roads. Traffic was disrupted for the day and the matter soon came to be presented in communal dimensions. The police resorted to lathi charge, tear gas and eventually opened fire to disperse the protesters. The matter has not been resolved though.
On previous occasions, 31 December witnessed widespread rioting and vandalism by a Muslim mob enraged at the ‘unnatural death’ of one Asadul Islam. Asadul had put up a stall at a fair organized by the local PragatiSangha at Dattapukur, in the vicinity of Gobardanga. Asadul was allegedly beaten to death by the TMC upa-Pradhan of the panchayat for molesting a woman. There were, however, counter allegations of extortion against the TMC upa Pradhan. The riot had led to the death of three people and prohibitory orders were imposed in the area for some time.
On 3 January, a major blast took place in a supposedly firecracker factory in Naihati claiming three lives. When the police diffused the explosives recovered from the site, the mushroom cloud went up several metres in the air. The impact of the explosion was enough to prove that the local people had been hoodwinked into believing the factory produced harmless entertainment fireworks. It is worth mentioning that the illegal arms and bomb manufacturing units of Monghyr have safely relocated in these areas of Bengal.
The continuously aggravating law and order problem in the 24 Parganas is a matter of major concern. North 24 Parganas is a critical district bordering Bangladesh; the deplorable condition of the law and order in the district, therefore, makes it a safe haven not only for the anti-social elements within the state, but also makes it easier for the disruptive elements to sneak in across the border.
This is all the more significant as North 24 Parganas holds the largest number of Assembly and parliamentary constituencies. This district alone accounts for thirty four Assembly seats and five LokSabha seats in West Bengal.