Kolkata: A city which has given shelter to riot victims of 1984 or 2002 and has always stood for pluralism and humanity never thought that a cardiac surgeon from Kashmir would face verbal assaults and death threats in the heart of the city.
Dr M S Kabir (name changed on request) has been in a state of shock since then. “I am living here from the past two decades. This is my city. I have never faced any negative situations because of my religion or for me being a Kashmiri. They told me to leave Kolkata and move to Pakistan. I never imagined that I would face abuse and death threats here, in Kolkata. They abused my family and threatened to kill my two daughters,” said Dr Kabir while speaking to eNewsroom.
He added that those who hurled abuses and death threats at him were wearing tilak on their forehead and were saffron clad. “They were all speaking in Hindi with a dehati accent. They were not Bengalis. I have never seen them before in the locality where I have been living for ten years now,” informed Kabir.
Dr Kabir is a well known cardiac surgeon attached to various nursing homes in the city. His wife Maria is a Bengali woman from Kolkata.
Within 24 hours of Pulwama attack, in which at least 40 CRPF personnel got killed on Thursday, Dr Kabir was targeted by Hinduvta group. “It was Friday morning and I was going for my usual morning walk. As soon as I came out of my apartment gate, I was surrounded by these people. They started abusing me and my family. They said that Kashmiris won’t be allowed to stay here. They all are terrorists. If you don’t leave Kolkata you will be killed,” said Kabir.
Few people were seen in a black Scorpio car parked outside his apartment gate. He threatened – “face consequences if you don’t leave Kolkata” when he was going for work on the same day. He couldn’t sleep on Friday night.
On Saturday, he reached out to a few of his friends on social media informing them about the threats. Kolkata police and social activists swung into action as soon as the news reached them.
Speaking to eNewsroom, Suman Sengupta, one of the organizers of Sahomon, a socio-public initiative that aims at removing social prejudice said, “I was alerted about this issue by Kavita Krishnan. I informed the police first and then rushed to the spot. The family is of course shaken. The doctor has been doing great work in the area and still has been singled out on the basis of ethnicity. We need to understand all Kashmiris are not terrorists. Let the terrorists of Kashmiri origin be penalized, why harass the common people who have no link to this issue.”
On contacting the officer-in-charge of Tiljala Police station, Joysurja Mukherjee regarding the case, he said, “His safety has been ensured. But I can’t reveal anything related to the case as it’s a sensitive one.”
While talking to eNewsroom, Dr Kabir has informed, “Officers from Lal Bazaar and Intelligence have visited us.” Police have been deployed in front of his house for security purpose, while NGOs have even suggested to have them shifted safer location.
Dr Kabir added, “I am grateful to police administration and friends who have come out to support me. But if I am not safe in my home then where will I be?”