A report on Islamist violence during Ram Navami in West Bengal (WB) by a fact-finding committee has revealed shocking details. Patna High Court’s (HC) retired Chief Justice Narsimha Reddy led the six-member committee. The committee visited Rishra on 8 April and Howrah on 9 April after receiving complaints and requests continuously from the victims.
Justice Narasimha Reddy-led fact-finding committee’s interim report on Ram Navami violence
The complicity of the Mamata government and Bengal police was highlighted in the interim report. The interim report also terms the violence as pre-planned, orchestrated and instigated. The committee minces no words when it says that WB CM Mamata Banerjee’s inflammatory speech was the trigger for the violence and riots on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami.
“There was a concerted effort to attack the Ram Navami procession. The rally started peacefully. At certain localities, police deployment was there. Once the rioters started throwing stones, the police coolly walked away. At residential localities, rioters entered forcefully entered places and broke the glass windows of the residents of the particular section who were busy celebrating Ram Navami”, Justice Narasimha Reddy told the media highlighting the role of the police.
During the media interaction, Justice Reddy also pointed out that the police were not allowing the committee to visit the violence-hit areas, not even those areas where Section 144 was not in force. He further said that the police knows committee members would get to know what happened in the violence-hit areas which were why they were preventing them from visiting them.
“No one from the police is answering our calls. We feel that police did not take any action in stopping the recent violence and allowed it to happen”, he said adding that the police acted like dictators during the course of the violence. Even the Calcutta HC had come down heavily on the Banerjee-led Bengal government while observing that the Ram Navami violence prima facie was pre-planned.
Contents of Interim report
1) The most notable point highlighted by the report accessed by HinduPost is the role of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. It holds the grossly inflammatory speech of Banerjee as the trigger for the violence. The report mentions Banerjee’s speech where she says serious action would be taken against Ram Navami processions passing through ‘Muslim areas’.
2) The report also notes that the police were found to be totally missing in action when they should have controlled the communally charged mob that attacked the peaceful Ram Navami procession. The organizers of the procession had not only obtained police permission for the procession through the said route but also sought additional police protection along a 100-metre stretch.
This stretch passing through a highly sensitive area has a past history of communal violence. “The state police failed to provide such security in advance and also failed to secure the life and property of procession takers knowing fully well the sensitive nature of the area”, notes the report. It further notes that the procession takers were attacked with stones due to the state’s utter failure. It accuses the state police of deliberately acting in a partisan manner.
3) The report while blaming the police’s partisan action on political compulsions, adds that their callous and biased functioning resulted in unprecedented violence against innocent persons who simply wanted to celebrate a widely revered festival as common and peaceful citizens.
4) Blaming the CM, it says she continued making inflammatory statements in a prejudiced and biased manner by prejudging the reasons for the violence without due investigations. The report noted that Banerjee in her Howrah public meeting after the Ram Navami violence blamed the Hindus for the mishaps.
It says that her utterances are disturbing as she gives clean chit to Jihadi Islamists saying they can do no wrong during Ramzan thereby blaming Hindus for the entire chain of violence. It further notes that her prejudiced attitude was a continuing trigger for violence and riots.
It also says that in one of her speeches, Banerjee incites members of a particular community to take law and order into their hands. The report highlights that it is disturbing that the elected head of the state incites communal violence by making communal comments in her public speeches to win the confidence of the minorities. “An inference may be drawn that any such action by the Chief Minister may prejudice any probe by labelling particular communities as rioters”, it notes.
The report cites videos where Banerjee is heard instigating Islamists by invoking Allah and asking them to finish (khatam) procession takers whom she labels rioters (dangabaaz). The committee observes that the police were tacitly supporting illegal and communal elements during the entire course of the event.
5) The committee says that the violence must be looked at in the background of the chequered history of Bengal where Hindu temples have been vandalised and Hindus attacked. Highlighting the instability and unrest within the state, the committee says it gets the feeling that the common people are continuously under threat of being attacked by the state machinery and its sponsored miscreants.
The victims, who met the committee members in private, said that the police resorted to tear gassing and lathicharged residents inside their gated societies. Many also accused the police of conspiring with the perpetrators of violence. The police neither responded to their frantic calls for help nor initiated any action to control the communal mob though they were only a few hundred meters away.
6) It says the victims of Ram Navami violence have not registered a complaint against the state-sponsored miscreants as they fear for the safety and security of their families. Moreover, the police have not cooperated with the victims and instead suppressed their voices by threatening them with false cases. According to the committee, Section 144 and subjudice subject matter are being used as excuses by the police to hide their inaction.
The committee says even the Howrah Police Commissioner refused to meet them or establish any contact despite the committee’s repeated efforts. It says the officers were prejudiced not to cooperate in any manner and only appeared to obstruct the committee’s work and lawful free movement of its members.
In addition to seeking appropriate police action, the committee recommended that the investigation of the riots be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), withdrawal of false cases against innocent persons, and deployment of central forces to restore the confidence of victims who have lost faith in the state police.
This report can form the basis for imposition of President’s rule in WB. With Mamata at helm, I don’t see any improvement in this b/c her entire politics is based on Muslim vote banks. She is, for all practical purposes, a Muslim leader just like Owaisi is. Only her name is Hindu