Kolkata: The Burdwan blast was merely a case of criminals fabricating simple crude bombs and selling them to politicians and criminals but the BJP-led central government has employed it for its own political agenda to polarise voters on communal lines ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections in 2016, a fact finding report by All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat has said.
The occasion has also been used to revive the BJP’s old propaganda about madrasas, fact finding team speakers told a press conference here yesterday, as published by the Milli Gazette website.
Two persons that police claim to be terrorists were killed, while a third was injured in what was termed as ‘accidental’ explosion on October 2 in a rented house at Khagragarh on the outskirts of Burdwan.
While announcing the preliminary report of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat West Bengal fact-finding delegation – it visited Burdwan on 24 October – the report said the criminals were outsiders who rented an accommodation in a locality of Burdwan and were exposed only as a result of the blast.
The press conference was addresses among others by the AIMMM president Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, who said, “We have no faith in the NIA investigations because it is a puppet of the Modi regime, which thrives on communal polarisation. The Mamata government has failed to withstand central meddling due to its current problems due to Saradha Group financial scandal.”
Following is the text of the fact-finding report:
Burdwan is a district of West Bengal state situated at a distance of around 150 kms from Kolkata. A bomb blast took place here in a mohalla called Khagragarh at 11 am on 2 October, 2014. A Police team which rushed to the place, found three persons seriously injured. Two women with their children escaped unhurt because they were in an adjacent room. Shakeel Ghazi, one of the three, was blown into pieces, while Sobhan Mondal, alias Swapan Mondal, and Abdul Hakeem were profusely bleeding. Mondal succumbed to his injuries while being taken to the hospital but Abdul Hakeem survived. Razia, Ghazi’s wife and Ameena Bibi, Abdul Hakeem’s wife, were taken into custody. Chemicals and explosive materials were found in the room. It seems the persons living in the house were using it to manufacture crude bombs under the guise of running a burqa factory.
After this incident, Rahul Sinha, President of BJP West Bengal, used the media to issue a series of explosive statements to disseminate fear among Muslims and accuse them of indulging in terrorism. Small incidents started taking place in various parts of the state and an attempt was made to burn a madrasa student alive. He was hospitalized and is still fighting for his life.
Under this situation, a team of leaders of Muslim organisations and others visited Khagragarh and Samulia village on 24 October, 2014, met officers of the administration, spoke to the people of the area and inspected the Samulia madrasa. The delegation also met with the secretary of a madrasa located near the Khagragarh building where the explosion took place. The delegation included representatives of the West Bengal unit of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Milli Ittehad Parishad, Jamaat–e-Islami Hind West Bengal, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Students Islamic Organsation of India (SIO), Welfare Party of India, Markazi Jamiat Ahle-Hadees and All India Muslim Personal Law Board. The delegation also included Mr. Monisha Sen of Welfare Party of India and Mr. Sukhnandan Singh Alluwalia, a Sikh leader. The delegation was led by the General Secretary of AIMMM West Bengal, Mr. Abdul Aziz. A number of mediapersons also accompanied the delegation.
When this delegation entered the Khagragarh mohalla, it found that NIA Chief Mr. Sharad Kumar too was visiting it to inspect the place of the explosion. The delegation tried to meet him but police officers forcefully intervened and did not allow the delegation to meet the NIA Chief, while mediapersons accompanying the delegation were allowed to meet Mr. Kumar though he refused to talk to team.
The delegation met Mr. Muhammad Ali Biswas, Secretary and Maulana Shaikh Abdur Rahman, principal of a madrasa located near the place. A number of senior residents of the mohalla also joined in. They confirmed that an explosion did take place but the way BJP, RSS and some media sections are twisting, it is condemnable as it has nothing to do with reality. This effort to implicate all Muslims is equally condemnable as are those who were fabricating bombs. These people want to make the whole Muslims of India responsible for the criminal activity indulged in by around five individuals, which is contrary to the requirements of justice and humanity.
Women of the mohalla told the delegation that media people have turned their life into hell. They enter their houses with a request to drink water, then speak to them about strange things seeking information about the explosion while the fact is that no one here knows who were the men and women involved in the bomb-making because these people were not locals and had only rented an accommodation here. Local people thought they were traders but it came out only after the explosion that they were criminals. It is unacceptable that BJP leaders and mediapersons want to punish the mohalla people for a crime committed by strangers.
The delegation also met the SP of Burdwan district Mr Mirza for about 30 minutes trying to understand the incident and connected issues. The delegation also visited Samulia village, situated at a distance of around 30 kms from Burdwan. A madrasa here is the target of the police here. The kutcha madrasa building speaks volumes about its plight. The delegation met a numbers of the residents of the village. They all expressed their bewilderment at what is being said. They told the delegation that young girls between the age of 8-10 years studied here. They were from outside the village. Village girls, they said, studied in two village mosques.
Nothing untoward or suspicious was seen in this madrasa. This was an elementary education madrasa which should be described as a ‘maktab’ instead. Elementary books were taught here. Villagers showed the delegation two ponds which was dried by the police. A handle of an umbrella was found at the bottom of one of the ponds. Police people said this may be the butt of a gun. Police also found two air-guns while searching the madrasa. Nothing else objectionable was found here. Yet a police team is camping here. Three youths of the village, who work in Kerela, were not given tickets at the railway station counter when they said they belonged to Simulia village. Those youths had come here to spend the Eid with their parents. Village people are finding it difficult to find work. Marriage proposals of boys and girls of the village are being spurned. Villagers are terrified and have no one to help them. They sought the advice of the delegation about what to do to face the situation.
The delegation, after carefully studying the matter and speaking to many responsible people in the area, reached the following conclusions:
- The bomb-making activity in the Khagragarh house was going on for some months but it was not unknown to the local police and politicians because in the same building a political party had opened its temporary office during the last parliamentary elections. Political workers and policemen liberally frequented the place.
- The bomb-makers had opened a bomb-making unit which supplied bombs to politicians and extortionist criminals. Criminals and politicians patronised these bomb-makers. They enjoyed the backing of some influential power with far-reaching access.
- A section of the biased and communal media is trying to debase Muslims.
- There is suspicion that BJP too was in cahoots with the bomb-makers because the BJP is trying to control the districts of Birbhum, Burdwan and Nadia etc. competing with Trinamool Congress. The BJP is feeling ecstatic after the Loksabha and by-election results. It is said that the BJP is eyeing the 2016 assembly elections, therefore it is feared that such incidents will be repeated in the run-up to the elections and communal riots will take place in various parts of the state.
- The current West Bengal Government is weak and discredited as a result of the Saradha Scam. To influence people or to control areas by dislodging others, such dirty tricks will be played ahead of the 2016 elections.
Members of the fact finding delegation included: Maulana Shah Md Nooruddin, Khalid Ebadullah, Maulana Md Rafique, Monisha Sen, Maulana Md Yahya, Tahiruddin, Qamruddin Mallick, Sabir Ali, Mashihur Rahman, Kazi Massom, Abdul Aziz, Hilaluddin and Sukhnadan Alluwalia.