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Tuktuki Mandal and the BJP’s polarisation campaign in Bengal

tuktuki

Image courtesy: Saddahaq.com

Tuktuki Mandal, a teenage girl from Magrahat in West Bengal has become the latest symbol of the right wing hypocrisy and the extent of shamelessness to which the BJP can go to for polarisation on religious lines before 2016 Assembly elections.

Anyone who is active on Twitter must have woken up surprised to see #JusticeForTuktuki in the trending topics, wondering who Tuktuki is and what justice are these people seeking? A closer look at the tweets would reveal that copy-pasted statements being circulated by several egg-head DPs or accounts with miniscule followers (one of the means of ascertaining how genuine the accounts are). Obviously, there were known bleeding-heart Sanghis like Saswati Sarkar (who is an expert on Bengal, sitting thousands of miles away in the US), Gaurav Swant, Mrs Gandhi (sic), Aditya Raj Kaul and many others.

Hindu Samhati, an ultra-right wing organisation, which even views household disputes through the prism of religion, led by Tapan Ghosh was accusing that Tuktuki Mondal, a teenage girl was kidnapped by ‘Islamists’ and sold into flesh trade. Not only they did not have any evidence to support their claims, but there were several inconsistencies in the allegations.

As Newslaundry reports:

“But as reporters studied the story, they began to discover obvious loopholes in the father’s version. The most glaring being the girl’s statement to the district Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), where she stated she had left home as a result of a tiff with her parents over her studies and was living in one of her maternal uncles’ place.  In fact, a reporter claims the mother, on cross-questioning, even admitted that their daughter was involved with Gazi and had eloped with him. The mother also stated that both Gazi and the girl studied in the same school. Gazi at the time of the girl’s disappearance was also a minor and turned 18 in June.

The story just wasn’t adding up. And most reporters chasing the story for major mainstream news channels stated that the story was not what Majhi and the girl’s father were trying to sell them.”

 

Right-wing news channels like NewsX did not want to be left behind. They started their own campaign to bring justice to Tuktuki and save West Bengal from the clutches of Jihadist misrule of Mamata Banerjee. Anyone who has ever watched NewsX knows they hardly ever report facts; hyperbole is the mainstay of their brand of “journalism”. Also, enter Kanchan Gupta with his “scathing” Op-Ed in The Pioneer calling upon people to save Hindu girls from “Muslim goons in the State.”

All this was happening as BJP state and central leadership sat on a dharna at Magrahat on the eve of Rath Yatra and Eid-Ul-Fitr. Whether there intentions were to seek justice for Tuktuki or to incite communal tension on the eve of religious festivals, I leave the reader to judge.

Meanwhile, Tuktumi Mandal was back in news on 20 July. She gave a statement to the Magistrate saying she ran away from home after tiffs with her parents regarding her studies. She said she was staying at her maternal uncle’s place. Tuktuki even refused to go back to her father’s house and the court has asked her to be sent to a juvenile home.

 

Video courtesy: NewsLaundry

 

The orchestrated campaign of the BJP to incite communal tension during festive season only shows their ideological bankruptcy. The Hindu right wing thrives on rumour-mongering. With the advent of technology like WhatsApp and Photoshop, their attempts at spreading communal poison have become even easier.

Last month when I had visited the Taj Mahal, our guide (who happened to be a Muslim) had remarked during a conversation that with elections approaching, many communal clashes were being staged by political parties with vested interests and they were helpless. With Bengal elections just around the corner, I ominously brood over what my guide at Taj Mahal told me in a casual remark.

And even as I write this post, I have information that the right wing is planning to stage another hoax campaign to shame Bengal next week.

It is incumbent on every self-righteous Bengali to save our motherland from the poison of communalism. We cannot let that happen to the land of Rabindranath and Nazrul.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

Is this the Achhe Din India voted for?

achhe din communal violence

“Behind India’s unity, there is an enormous and magnificent variety,” said India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952. Unity in diversity has been the foundation of the Indian Constitution – celebrating the bond of togetherness while respective the diverse traditions and unique culture of each and every province, community or creed.

In the recent past, a sense of intolerance has gripped the Indian society. “My way or the highway” is the writ that rules large these days. The Poet had once prayed for fearless minds but the world has now been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.

Post May, 2014, the idea of India is under attack. I do not wish to enter the war of statistics about exactly how many incidents there have been or the blame game as to whether they have taken place in BJP-ruled states or Congress-ruled states. Quite simply such episodes must be nipped in the bud.

A certain 56-inch tea-seller (by his own proud admission) was handed the mantle of India in the elections that concluded earlier this year. His was a huge mandate, which his fans and followers claim was for the hope of development and change that he promised. Six months down the line, what remains is empty rhetoric, “eloquent silence” and attempts to ascertain the majoritarian triumphalism to a particular religion.

As another year in the calendar winds up, a new dawn beckons us. Let us beckon the new year with these words of Swami Vivekananda:

“I shall go to the mosque of Muslim, I shall enter the Christian’s church and kneel before the Crucifix, I shall enter the Buddhist Temple where I shall take refuge in the Buddha and his law and I shall go into the forest and sit down in meditation with the Hindu who is trying to see the light which enlightens the heart of everyone.”

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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