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Saturday, June 25, 2022

WB: Amidst cacophony around deceased Islamist activist Anish Khan, custodial death of Hindu tribal youth Shikari Mura overlooked

On February 18, officers of the Jhalda Excise Department raided Rabidi village of Baghmundi police station in Purulia district of West Bengal and picked up a 26-year-old Hindu ST (Scheduled Tribe) youth, Shikari Mura. Locals allege that they had detained Mura on baseless allegations of trading illegal liquor.

Two days later, Shikari’s family was informed of his death; it is being reported that the youth was brutally beaten to death by the officials. Family members of the deceased youth gheraoed the Jhalda Excise office on Monday, February 21. Shikari’s brother, Laltu Mura informs media that Shikari was a little inebriated and the police came and nabbed him accusing him of selling liquor. He never sold liquor, claimed Laltu. 

On the other hand, OC of Jhalda Excise Department, Maidul Islam said that he laughs upon hearing that Shikari was killed after being assaulted at their office as, “no one even gets slapped in here, beaten to death is a far cry”.

While the officer ridicules the death of the tribal youth, no prominent media covers it and citizens of the state remain oblivious to the same, another death in the state has almost brought West Bengal to a standstill. 

Is it because Anish Khan, the deceased in the second case, was a Muslim? The question was suggested by the Leader of Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari. 

A student leader from the Islamist outfit, Indian Secular Front (ISF), who had protested against the TMC government for a stretch of 130 days, Anish Khan would often promulgate Hinduphobic and Islamist views. In one of his last Facebook posts, supporting the Hijab, he demanded that the worship of Maa Saraswati and Maa Kali in schools should be ceased.

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He was killed on the night of February 18 and his family alleges that his killers were ‘uniformed police officials’ and other ‘civic volunteers’. His father alleged, “It was around 12:30 am that four persons came to our house and identified themselves as policemen from the Amta police station. One of them stood with me on the ground floor. He was carrying a firearm. The other three took my son upstairs. Moments later, I heard a huge thud and found that my son was lying in a pool of blood. As I raised the alarm, all the four persons fled.”

Why the assailants would kill the man in his own home after being visibly identified by his family, is a question that investigators need to probe. Islamist organizations and their secular-liberal NGO counterparts at experts at coaching grieving families, as Teesta Setalvad’s antics have shown.

Khan’s death immediately sparked massive outrage in Kolkata and parts of West Bengal and demonstrations were staged against the government by his villagers and supporters of the Left parties. The state government was compelled to set up an SIT to probe into the death of the 28-year-old man.

On February 24, the Calcutta High Court directed a second post–mortem by exhuming the body with the consent of all parties and in the presence of a district judge. But when the police officials and the magistrate arrived at the residence of the deceased, his father refused to allow them to exhume the body. Protestors also attacked the police with stones.

Now the entire fiasco does culminate in one question – where were all these protestors and marchers, including the Opposition Left parties, when this TMC government was inflicting unspeakable tortures on Hindu women and men, including innumerable rapes and molestations, after the victory of the TMC government in the legislative polls, all because they were either BJP workers or supporters? And why have there not been a single protest against the custodial death of Shikari Mura? Why are the so-called tribal and Dalit rights organisations like Tribal Army and Bhim Army also silent?

In September 2018, two Bengali Hindu youths and students of Darivit High School in Islampur, Rajesh Sarkar and Tapas Barman, were killed when they came face to face with the state police protesting the unwarranted recruitment of two Urdu teachers instead of teachers teaching English, Bengali, History and Science – subjects that students of the 1700-strong school studied, while not a single one of them had opted for Urdu. Both of them were shot at by the police forces.

The state brimming with pseudo secularists had maintained a shameful silence at that ruthless police atrocity. Known for staging demonstrations blocking the 8B Bus Stand road routinely, the activists of Jadavpur University shied away from speaking for those two Hindu students who died due to police brutality. But marches were taken out by students of this leftist hub to protest Anish Khan’s “murder”.

BJP Bengal leader Dilip Ghosh made no qualms declaring that “everyone is jumping on this issue only because the deceased man was a Muslim.”

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