Is Mamata Banerjee Encouraging Islamic Extremism for Vote Bank Politics??

We have heard of numerous instances of religious flare up in Bengal in recent times. Hindus have been under attack by radical Islamists and many have even been forced to leave their homes and livelihood behind in a bid to save their lives. The latest example of Islamic radicalism taking over Bengal is Dhulagarh and blame lies directly at the door of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Dhulagarh is the latest in a series of attacks on Hindus which has stayed away from media attention as well.

For three days from December 13th Islamic rioters ran amok unchecked in the town of Dhulagarh that lies about 30 kilometers from the state secretariat Nabanna. That a crime of such magnitude takes place so close to the state secretariat and yet the administration is a silent spectator, is not only a matter of shame but one of grave concern as well. What is more appalling is that neither the mainstream media not the elitist media in the state found it newsworthy to cover the plight of Hindus, who were at the receiving end of Islamic radicalism. Thanks to Social Media the entire incident came to light which would otherwise have been simply swept under the carpet by Mamata and her administration. The West Bengal Government is bending over backwards in pleasing Muslims in view of vote bank politics.

More often than not Mamata Banerjee simply refuses to acknowledge the existence of Islamic Radicalism thereby protecting the perpetrators and instead blames BJP for fomenting communal tensions. Trouble started during an Eid-e-Milad procession when members of the procession started attacking shops and homes belonging to Hindus by throwing crude bombs and setting their shops afire. While members of the majority community were forced to run for their lives, police remained mere spectators. As is their wont, mainstream media journalists and activists were tight lipped since the victims were Hindus. Despite the fact that rioting continued for three days, these champions of free speech did not think that the Idea of India was under threat. On the other hand, some journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai termed this as communal clashes and not riots. So much for being fair and objective and media being a fourth pillar.

It is worth mentioning here that ever since Mamata Banerjee has become the Chief Minister, Islamic radicals have become bolder. There are several instances which make it clear that such elements have no fear of the law. Clerics have issued fatwas against girls playing football, radicals have issued threat to the PM of our country, Muslim teachers have been beaten up for making students sing the national anthem and idols of Maa Durga have been vandalised Durga Puja and Hindus have been forced to not celebrate Durga Puja itself. And yet no action has been taken against such scrupulous elements only because they belong to the so called minority community.

Just like stone pelting is a regular feature in Kashmir, throwing of crude bombs has become all too common in West Bengal, with both police and state administration being mere spectators in collusion with the State Government of course. Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, including radicals who were facing heat from the Bangladesh Government, found a safe haven in Bengal. Instead of providing facilities that would help minorities get into the mainstream, Mamata is content encouraging Jihadis. It is not in the least surprising that her own party members are hooligans and attack members of other political parties. Not only were BJP leaders not allowed to enter Dhulagarh to take stock of the situation but Superintendent of Police Sabyasachi Raman Mishra was transferred after he arrested 65 rioters.

Mamata has been at loggerheads with the centre for quite some time now. It is worth recalling that recently she vociferously opposed Indian Army exercise in Bengal during the demonetisation drive. Besides that, her eagerness to tap into the minority votes has only emboldened radicals in West Bengal who have been running amok in the state. Media is as usual silent, as are intellectuals who wasted no time in shedding tears in the Dadri case. Unless Islamic radicalism is nipped in the bud, it would soon spread to other parts of the country as well.

Latha Iyer