Malda (West Bengal): More than 2.5 lakh people participated in a rally in West Bengal's Muslim dominated Malda district on Sunday called to protest the blasphemous comments made against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) by self-proclaimed Chief of Uttar Pradesh State Hindu Mahasabha Kamlesh Tiwari.
The protest rally organised by local Muslim organisations in Malda was part of the countrywide rallies held in different parts of India since December 03, 2015 starting with the one called by the students of Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh.
However, unlike the peaceful rallies held in other parts of the country, violence broke out in Malda after the unruly crowd indulged in arson setting on fire at least two dozen police vehicles, including one belonging to India’s border-guarding agency Border Security Force (BSF).
According to the media reports, Malda's Kaliachak police station was also ransacked by the violent mob.
The district is tense since then though the police claimed that situation is fully under control and no untoward incident has been reported after Sunday.
"The situation is now under control. Regular police arrangements are there in that area to take care of the law and order part," Malda district police superintendent Prasun Banerjee told Mail Today, refusing to divulge anything further on the situation and about the organisation which actually took out the protest rally.
The violence broke out when the protesters, who were taking out the rally on National Highway 34, came across a bus that was trying to negotiate past them. A group of protesters got into an argument with the driver of the bus and soon the situation spiralled out of control. As the passengers got off the bus, the protesters burnt it down.
A little later, a BSF vehicle, which was coming from Malda, was also set ablaze. The mob then turned towards the nearby Kaliachak Police Station. Eyewitnesses said the protesters drove out the policemen and set on fire part of the police station, including the barracks.
Sources said two persons, including an RSS activist from a nearby area who led a separate group of people to stop the protesters, were injured in the violence.
Although authorities are trying to ascertain who organised the rally, sources said posters calling for the gathering against Kamlesh Tiwari’s remarks had been put up by a local Muslim organisation at the marketplace about five days ago.
According to another report, the rally was called by Anjuman Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal-Jamat (ASJ).
Kamlesh Tiwari's blasphemous comments against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) came a day after Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan made derogatory remarks against the RSS.
Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested on December 2 last year following protests across the country over his alleged remarks. He is currently lodged at the Lucknow District Jail. The Lucknow police have invoked National Security Act against Tiwari.
A case under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) was lodged against Tiwari at Lucknow’s Naka Hindola police station. The FIR alleged that Tiwari’s statement caused tension and led to protests by Muslims.
Later on, Hindu Mahasbha also distanced the organisation from Kamlesh Tiwari saying he is not associated with the outfit.
Hindu Mahasabha, a right wing Hindu organisation, is said to be organisation behind the assassinationn of Mahatma Gandhi. Of late, the organisation hs been reportedly involved in programs glorifying Gandhi killer Nathoram Godse.