One killed in police firing in WB Nadia district over contention to raise pandal near Idgah

By Zaidul Haque,,

Kolkata: One person has been killed when police opened fire on mob in West Bengal’s Nadia district.

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At Tehatta in Nadia residents had sought permission to raise a pandal for Jagadharthi Puja, beside an Idgah. But district police officials denied the permission sighting mutual decisions taken at the all party peace meeting held on September 10 and again on November 8, 2012 called by sub-division development officer and sub-division police office.

Angry mob had hence gheraoed the sub-divisional police officer Shailesh Sha’s resident near Haulia More on the insistence of radical elements, supported by RSS.

Puja Committee demanded to make Puja Pandal attached to the boundary Wall of this Idgah at Baulia, Tehatta of Nadia District.

With Wife and only children, SDPO Shailesh Sha did not know what to do and in an attempt to protect his family, bodyguard of SDPO fired in which a local resident Sudhamoy Ghosh was killed.

Additional Director General of Police (Law & order) Surajit Purakayastha defended the police action. He said, “The police fired in self defense.”

Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has announced Rs 2 lakh compensation and government job to be given to one member from his family. The CM also warned the political parties and RSS against trying to meddle with peace.

Although Tehatta is now clam and under control, but Muslim residents are in anxiety over the fate of the Idgah.

According to police statement and detective department’s source, a particular radical group, RSS-BJP cadres provoked the locals to gherao the SDPO’s residence and burn the police van.

Local Trinamul Congress leader and State Youth Trinamul Congress Secretary, Zulfiqar Ahmed told TCN that this issue is between administration and puja organizing committee members and some group of people.

For over 15 years now Muslims have been offering Eid prayers at the Idgah, and Hindu raise pandals in a vacant field near the Idgah, only few yards away.

What were the Puja Committee’s demands?

PWD Baroary Puja Committee demanded to make a Puja Pandal just outside of the boundary wall of an Idgah. Land outside of the Idgah is not personal property, but belongs to the Public Works Department of the West Bengal Government.

Why objection came from District Police Official?

On September 10 and again on November 8, 2012 Subdivision Development Officer, Sudipta Bhattacharya had called an all party meeting. It was mutually decided then that the Jagadharthi Puja Pandal will build up in a vacant place just few yards from the Idgah Maidan, but not exactly adjacent of the boundary wall of the Idgah. This is the place generally pandals have been raised.

Accordingly team led by SDO and BLRO visited the place to decide on the exact location. However, Puja Committee forcibly started to put the pandal materials next to the Idgah.

Then Circle Inspector of the local police station pulled out the material form the attached area of Idgah and requested them to make pandal keeping just few yards away.

However, Puja committee members refused to follow the police instructions.


Workers of the PWD Puja Committee campaignined with loud speakers to attend a ‘road block’ and agitation programme against police officials on the Baulia More. Local RSS and BJP cadres joined the programme and provoked them to demand that pandal be raised at location of their choice, next to the Idgah.

Angry mob burned a police vehicle.

The stand of Muslims in Tehatta:

There are very few Muslim households in the locality. Although they termed the firing and subsequent killing of a person as unfortunate, they expressed their satisfaction over the able management of the police administration in not allowing the issue to ignite into any trouble. They also thanked the WB CM for her handling of the situation.

However, an unspoken anxiety and tension appears in the locality amidst fear of Hindu-Muslim clashes.

Discrimination in politics of compensation:

Meanwhile, questions are being raised on the different parameters used by the currrent state government while giving compensation.

In another police firing on December 1, last year at the Nainan Village under the Magrahat Police Station of South 24 Parganas district a 14 year old girl and her mother were killed. In this predominantly Muslim village, residents of the village had organised a protest to demand for electricity supply.

Accepting that innocent villagers were killed and that their demands are genuine, the WB CM had announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh, but no job assurance. It’s been year now, and although electricity has reached this village, the family is yet to receive the compensation.

[Photos taken by: PRANAB DEBNATH]