A doctor from Kolkata, West Bengal, through his NGO, has been helping the distressed Bengali Hindus who have been living under tremendous danger since May 2, 2021 post the State election results were announced. In order to keep him safe, the name of the doctor and his NGO along with its location will not be mentioned here as he has been receiving threats from the TMC.
In a detailed conversation with GoaChronicle.com, he narrated the tale of his journey helping the victims and how the current situation in Bengal is. Talking about the beginning of his initiative to provide support to the victims of the violence in Bengal, he said, “I was first associated with social work quite a long time ago and I was a student back then. I was pursuing my MBBS degree. I had begun visiting remote areas with my seniors. When the first wave of COVID-19 hit, havoc could be seen everywhere around us. Seeing all that, my colleagues and my seniors decided to help people in need. We had managed to establish around 100 medical camps and had covered 4-5 districts. I got really inspired by my seniors and others. So, I planned to establish my own NGO and later, during this post-poll violence, I thought I should stand by the victims. When I visited the affected areas, it was heart- wrenching. I cannot explain what I saw in words. I had visited 2-3 districts personally. And people from another 4-5 districts were forced to leave their homes and had reached Kolkata. We then provided them with food and shelter.”
“We made a safe home for them and its location has been kept secret by me. There was a terrible exodus which was happening. I came in direct contact with around 2,500 Hindus. I would not use the word ‘karyakartas’ for them because they were not from any political background but essentially Hindus who were affected and targeted. Roughly around 4,500 beneficiaries were helped through our NGO and other people connected to me. And I received help from Hindus all over the world- monetary support, legal backup, and shelter home contacts. This is how we have been able to arrange a number of shelter homes. We provided shelter for the victims for around 1.5 months. Most have gone back but till date, I am providing dry ration and food to Hindus. In majority of the areas, Hindus have been socially boycotted. TMC has demolished Hindus’ business establishments from a small tea stall to a large grocery store. First, they usurped the establishments and later started asking for money in order to hand them back to the victims. And obviously, the person was not able to pay huge amounts for his own property or resources. The fine for supporting the BJP for a rickshaw puller is 5000-6000 a month and for an established businessman, the fine goes up to 50 lakh! People who were at posts like Mandal President were not only thrown out of their homes but were asked to surrender their women to the local TMC leaders.
In Diamond Harbour, from May 6 to May 22, every night, 2-3 Hindu houses were targeted. From 13-year old girls to 60-70 year old women, no one was spared. There were incidents wherein the grandmother, the daughter-in-law and the grand-daughter were all raped in the local club in front of a crowd. It is very unfortunate that no local BJP leader was able to react when needed. Planned attacks were seen. Carpet bombarding took place everywhere. After 2nd May, 40-50 political murders have taken place and it must have been more than that because many cases have not been reported; innumerable rapes have been known of. The TMC leaders had threatened the victims that if they went to the police, the police would in return report it all to them and then, they would be back. Hence, cases have been under-reported”, added the doctor.
He further said, “In Canning Taldi, immense violence took place. The Muslims surrounded Hindus houses so that no help could reach from one house to the other. Their ration was limited and on top of that, the lockdown was imposed. In local markets, Hindu shops were forcefully shut down. Roads were blocked. If any vehicle passed through the road occupied by the Muslims, a fine of Rs. 5-10 was to be paid every single time. While this was going on, we faced certain challenges; there was a huge demand for funds. I was called many times and threatened. By God’s grace, nothing happened to me. It was all to intimidate me. The families which were able to reach us were saved but many were killed on the way to us. When the lockdown was announced, 2-3 families were planning to come to Kolkata from Diamond Harbour. One of the families couldn’t reach us. We tried calling them several times but their phone was unreachable and we have still not been able to establish contact with them. Then, through some sources in their neighbourhood, we got to know that one entire family was murdered and each member was hacked into pieces and thrown into a pond. Now, we do not know whether it was the same family or not. One family was successful in reaching us though and is still in the shelter camp.”
“After that when Cyclone Yaas hit our coast, we had made visits to affected areas like the Sundarbans. While helping them, we saw that the people preferred to swim in waters filled with Bengal tigers and crocodiles rather than going to shelter camps established by the TMC because they knew that if they went to the camps, they would be killed. Again, we saw that they were hiding in jungles and we had to travel through the most remote areas where there was no road or connectivity to provide relief to the cyclone victims. We had also gone to the Mousuni Island and got to know that a local panchayat had released a fatwa saying that whosoever would try to go to the island for relief work would have to surrender their goods to them and they would distribute those things. In reality, the roads which led to Mousuni were blocked by local police personnel, all the goods were being taken and were being selectively provided to TMC members only and the rest of the goods were being sold in the local markets. Hence, we went there in collaboration with Bharat Sevashram and 2-3 boys from ABVP helped us a lot”, he continued.
Talking about his experience while helping the Hindu victims, he commented, “While many people talk about secularism in the 21st century, the scenario is similar to that of the partition. What we saw is selective Hindu killings; the Muslims’ motive is to occupy land and shops. They want to stop all sources of income for the Hindus and either they want to kill them directly or socially isolate them and starve them to death. In Frazerganj, we saw that after we had provided the needy with things like ration and medicine, all the goods were being snatched away from them. It had developed into a war-like situation. Later on, we were compelled to distribute the goods to everyone. It is really shocking that Hindus are being outnumbered. In 4-5 districts in West Bengal, Hindus are straight away getting defeated by numbers only. Official records may say that Muslims comprise 35-40% of the state’s population but I highly doubt that. It is way above the 40% mark because of illegal infiltration. At the time of Yaas, many infiltrators could be seen moving from one side to the other and they were taking relief goods and transferring them to the other side. In Sundarbans, we saw cows and bamboos being smuggled in broad daylight. Things are pathetic. I do not know who to blame but the picture is really terrifying for those who want to see the reality. For those who do not want to, it is absolutely nothing.”
“Currently, I am personally asking the victims we have helped to begin with some small-scale services because it is not possible for everyone to establish shops in such a hostile situation. The shops will be demolished after all. I am providing them with ideas and funds and then we can see what can be done. In a situation wherein people were thrown out of work because one of their family members supported the BJP, things are not going to be easy. For such people, we have asked them to contact us if they have a bike or a bicycle so that we can help them get into a courier service. At the end of the day, nobody wants to take favours after a period of time and want to earn on their own. Hence, we have come up with these ideas which would allow them to work. This is how we are operating. Yes, threats will continue to come our way but we will stay determined”, he explained.
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