The Ugly Face of Anti-CAA Protests in Bengal: TMC leader Tahiruddin Mondal opens fire killing two
While Tahiruddin and his goons fired bullets killing Anarul Biswas and Salauddin Seikh (19), bombs hurled by anti-CAA protesters injured Mantu Seikh, brother of Tahiruddin Mondal.
- Suman Bhattacharyya
The Jalangi Incident of 29 January 2020 once again exposes the ugly face of anti-CAA protests and its surreptitious connections with Islamic militancy. The men who had gathered for a demonstration against the CAA and were reportedly forcing a shut down in the market area at Sahebnagar village of Jalangi subdivision were Muslim. The Trinamool leaders who had come to resist the bandh called by a medley of Congress and CPIM supporters were also Muslim. Both parties opened fire and hurled bombs at each other, killing two people and injuring three. Incidentally, all these five people are also Muslim.
The incident occurred on the day of Saraswati Puja in Bengal, leading to severe traffic disruptions on the Sagarpara- Seikhpara State Highway and the Dhanirampur-Bhaduriapara Road. The incident started after Tahiruddin Mondal, TMC President of Jalangi North Zone, and his associates threatened the protesters. The protesters immediately rebuffed and chased Tahiruddin out. A group of irate villagers chased his car upon which, Tahiruddin and his associates rolled down the windows and showered bullets and bombs on them. Anarul Biswas (61), a muezzin of the local mosque who was returning home after the prayers, and Salauddin Seikh (19), a migrant labourer who had returned home barely a week ago were killed. On the other hand, bombs hurled by the anti-CAA protesters injured Mantu Seikh, the brother of Tahiruddin Mondal. Two other bandh supporters, Mijanur Rahman and Alauddin Biswas were also injured. All three were rushed to the Murshidabad Medical College.
Murshidabad District Trinamool President, Abu Taher Khan, tried to defend the violence saying his party opposed the bandh as it was a Puja day and they did not want anyone to be inconvenienced. A leader of the Citizens’ Forum, however, insisted the bandh was ‘pre-announced’ and the violence was “instigated to foil it”. In the process of this blame game, the most interesting comment came from Abdur Razzaq, the MLA from Jalangi, who said, “A section of the criminals are carrying on vandalism in the name of opposition to NRC and CAA.” Razzaq had been elected on a CPIM ticket in 2016 but later shifted his loyalties to TMC.
Murshidabad district, particularly Beldanga, had seen the most violent manifestations of the anti-CAA movements in the country. The BDO Office at Beldanga was burnt down and the police station ransacked by a mob. Several trains, including the Hazarduari Express, were torched and railway tracks uprooted at places, disrupting the communication with North Bengal and North East India for some time. The Indian Railways had estimated the loss to be over a hundred crore rupees.
Murshidabad shares a very porous border with Bangladesh and has a predominantly Muslim population (66.27%). The anarchy in these areas of Malda and Murshidabad districts in the name of anti-CAA protests had revealed the real nature of the crisis in law and order situation in the state.
Worse, the way railway property was vandalized during the second and third weeks of last December might not have entirely been spontaneous outbursts of public frustration. There appears to be a method in the entire madness, particularly after the seditious statements of Sharjeel Imam , one of the key organizers of Shaheen Bagh. In his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University, Sharjeel, a PhD scholar from JNU, had said if five lakh people were organized, they could cut off the Northeast from India permanently. It appears that Muslim militancy and ultra-Left forces are at connivance trying to jeopardize the development of Northeast India.
Also, one has to remember that the Chinese forces had made inroads up to Tezpur in 1962 making it extremely difficult for India to replenish its artillery in the absence of an effective communication network. In this context, we should remember with gratitude the political pragmatism of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, when he insisted Malda and Murshidabad remain with India. These two districts not only connect north and south Bengal, they also connect the northeast to the rest of the country. The seditious forces in the country, like Sharjeel Imam and the rioters at Sahebnagar seem to be fully aware of this.