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Did a sting operation help avert communal violence during Janmashtami in Bengal?

Kolkata: Social activist Soibal Dasgupta, had delved deep into the saffron brigade’s IT cell and interacted with a number of its torch bearers to leak out details of an impending communal clashes which he claims is to be executed across West Bengal to dampen Janmashtami celebration, this year.

The sting operation of his revealed that the mischief makers have allegedly planned a series of riots to be executed in different districts of Bengal during Janmashtami. Three of the places mentioned in the list published under the Janmashtami riot plans, that eNewsroom had published last week had already witnessed attempts being made to stir a communal mishap, which has been thwarted by the police, alerted by Soibal.

The details of his sting operation was made public on August 19 in Bengal Report, a Bengali news portal and on August 21 an armed person entered a mosque in Metiabruj (one of the places named in the list) and vandalised it and even attacked the policemen.

Similarly, in Raghunathpur of Purulia (another place named in the list) a huge quantity of bombs had been seized by the police.

janmashtami police communal clashes bengal
A screenshot of Facebook post of August 26, the day Raksha Bandhan was celebrated

Significantly, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, a festival which celebrate brotherhood, and has no ritual of holding rally to brandish weapons and celebrate the festival, saw the members of the saffron brigade bringing out a rally where men with weapons were seen participating, in Murshidabad. The participants which included girls too, were seen carrying traditional weapons (swords etc) in the rally. Meanwhile, Raksha Bandhan is not a religious but a secular festival in Bengal. A tradition, started by none other than Rabindra Nath Tagore, who in 1905 had thwarted the Britisher’s plan of dividing Bengal on communal lines. Tagore flagged of a raksha bandhan celebration where Hindu and Muslims ties rakhi to each other to profess unity and brotherhood. This tradition is still followed in Shanti Niketan.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Soibal Dasgupta claimed, “I am not sure if the permission for these Janmashtami rallies have been cancelled or not. But we have witnessed anyone supporting the cancellation is facing their (saffron brigade’s) wrath in different ways.”

The news portal, Bengal Report which had first published the news related to the sting operation is being threatened, informed Soibal. “Hate messages and anonymous phone calls seeking information are being made,” said Soibal.

He also informed that besides the portal, the reporter had also been trolled on social media. Another activist, who informed the Bengal Chief Minister Office (CMO) about the same is being abused on social media. He also added that the pages, where the news had got shared have been reported.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Anuj Sharma, additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, West Bengal Police, said, “We will not allow anyone to breach the peace of our state. Strong police arrangements have been made.” However, on being asked about them having arrested troublemakers in Dhulian Murshidabad, just ahead of the Janmashtami celebration, Sharma, passed on the question saying that he had no official information about the same.

In another development, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien tweeted on Sunday, mentioning that efforts were being made to instigate communities. In his tweet he alleged that fake Anti-Hindu messages are being circulated on Facebook through fake accounts made with Muslim names.

#ALERT With no answers on real issues, digital mobs of BJP-RSS trying to stoke communal tension. Be alert. Their new modus operandi : spread ‘anti-Hindu’ messages on Facebook. These posts deliberately being put out from fake profiles with parodies of ‘Muslim-sounding surnames’ (sic),” tweeted O’Brien.

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