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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Police Officer injured by sword, boy wounded by bullets during Muharram processions in West Bengal

A police official ended up severely injured when a sword flew off a member of the Tazia procession in Chandernagore’s Sadiapara in West Bengal. The injured sub-inspector, Rajiv Paul, was rushed to the local hospital situated in Imambara Sadar in Chuchunra. The Chandernagore Police Commissioner, Humayun Kabir stated that the state police are investigating the matter. 

It has been gathered from reliable local sources and police that the Taziya procession commenced from the Chandernagore Urdibazar area on Tuesday evening and was headed toward Karbala, Chunchuda through the GT road.

At around 5 PM that evening, a section of young men from the procession gathered near a petrol pump at Sariapada and started slashing with the swords in the open, amidst locals. SI Rajiv Paul was stationed there as the on-duty official managing the crowd. It was while he was managing the Tazia procession, that one of the young men brandishing the swords lost the grip of the sharp weapon and it hit Rajiv Paul, wounding his head and neck. As per reports, he turned unconscious at the spot after suffering heavy bleeding.   

The incident took the gathering and the locals by shock, and the group of young men brandishing their swords in the open promptly fled the scene. The injured SI, a resident of Jamalour, Bardhaman, was taken to the near-by hospital in Chandernagore, where he received eight stitches across his head and neck. He was later moved to Imambara hospital. 

It is worth noticing that despite a severe accident as the one reported above, the Tazia procession was not dispersed or called off. While police says that swords and similar weapons are banned in Muharram processions, every year this risky display of dangerous weapons in public is common and often leads to one mishap or another. 

The state government, which is notorious for meddling with the dates and timings of the Durga puja immersion every year citing safety issues, has adopted a policy of absolute silence on this incident and many others alike.

Here, we would like to bring to our reader’s notice that the liberals of Bengal have often questioned the Ram Navami procession and routinely express displeasure on the Shastra puja held during the Durga Pooja festivities. They have never held back from dubbing these rituals ‘uncivilized display of arms’.

Last year several pooja committees in Bengal stripped the deity of her power by installing lotus flowers in the hands of the dasa-bhuja Durga and denied her the trident, Chakra, bow & arrow, and sword. However, they have not spent a word condemning the near-death situation faced by a 45-year-old inured police official, lest they get the word “communal” tagged against their names. 

It’s noteworthy that this is not the only mis-hap to have happened in Bengal during Muharram this year. A 11-year-old boy was killed, while three others were critically injured, when a roof collapsed in West Bengal’s Malda district. The victims had climbed up the under-construction building to watch the swordsmanship display during Muharram procession. In another accident, a six-year old boy is reported to have suffered two bullet injuries from shots fired by an armed Muharram procession passing by his house in Malda, Bengal. 

Meanwhile in Bihar, a 60-year-old man cut his own neck by mistake & died while showing off his swordsmanship during a Muharram procession in Bihar Sharif.

(Featured image: Representational only)

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