A massive protest rally by the Muslims against Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari over his derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad turned ugly and violent in West Bengal’s Malda district on Sunday.
The rally which initially started on a passive note turned aggressive leading to arson and gunfire in which at least two people sustained bullet injuries.
Protesters who were taking the rally on National Highway 34, turned violent after they came across a bus that was trying to negotiate past them. An altercation ensued between the protestors and driver and as things heated up further the mob unleashed its fury.
Later, a BSF vehicle coming from Malda was also set ablaze, after which the furious mob turned towards the Kaliachak Police Station, drew out the policemen, torched the Police Station including the barracks and went to Khaltipur railway station and squatted on the railway tracks in protest.
As tension gripped the area; shops were shut down and officials also reported that protestors looted and destroyed nearby houses.
Section 144 was imposed in the area and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were called in to control the situation.
Kamlesh Tiwari, the self-proclaimed Hindu leader, was arrested following protests across the country over his alleged remarks.
On December 3, 2015, Tiwari reportedly called the Prophet Muhammad the world’s first homosexual. He had also reportedly circulated pamphlets against the Muslim community. He was arrested in Lucknow and is currently lodged at the Lucknow District Jail.
The Lucknow police have invoked the National Security Act against Tiwari. The Hindu Mahasabha has stated that Tiwari is not at all a part of their outfit.
A case under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) was registered against Tiwari at Lucknow’s Naka Hindola police station.
The FIR against Tiwari also alleged that his statement had caused serious tension and led to protests by a community in various pockets.
We are talking about a frenzied mobilized mob of 2.5 lakh people, all of them driven by unnecessary instigation based on religious fanaticism.
Condemning one’s religion doesn’t make yours any greater, and mobs reacting like this to mindless remarks, can only lead to further harm. Every time something of this sort happens, it doesn’t matter who says what, the rabid herd culture amongst people clearly comes out and we are left questioning if we are really the civilised society we’d like to think we are.
Extremist groups propagating either Hindutva or Jihad are equally detrimental to the social fabric of the nation. We cannot afford mob fury like this. If we are to fight against the evil of terrorism and bring about communal harmony, the first step would be to come together and do it collectively.
Religious associations need issue firm diktats to their followers to stay clear from instigating and insinuating religious and communal discord in the country.
It is absolutely appalling to see that as the country and its security forces are struggling to grapple with the ongoing terrorists attacks in Pathankot against terrorist outfits; we are spawning some of our own.
Spare a thought for the people, who lose their lives and injure themselves seriously in such tragedies, that are completely uncalled for. The security forces who bear the major brunt of these actions are people who act upon and serve their call of duty, irrespective of their religion.
We have enough issues to deal with as it is, let’s not make life any more difficult for ourselves.