Metiabruz of Garden Reach has never been an area of Calcutta-turned-Kolkata where the police could venture in search of suspected criminals without risking the lives of their personnel. However, the abduction of a minor 10 months ago allegedly by a not-so-political suspect, Mintu Mian, going unchallenged by Kolkata Police — despite a court order urging them to search the locality — in the reign of a Muslim-appeasing Mamata Banerjee acquires a more serious proportion. On top of that, the police have the audacity to issue a tweet, threatening social media users of dire consequences after the Sirf News stories on the issue went viral. This was, anyway, not the first time that the media had reported the incident. The men in white might have either been apprehensive of taking on a big media outlet like the Anandabazar Patrika or it believed that a news website would be a pushover, or it might have reckoned that reports in the Bengali language were relatively innocuous as they would not lead to a nationwide furore. When Sirf News got Diptasya Jash’s report translated, it unnerved the administration. They must know we are not finished. There are more facts of the case that are yet to be published beyond the copies of the general diary, FIR and the court order that were attached to our stories. Further, our reportage is backed by seasoned lawyers who have been practising at the highest courts of the country for ages. Sirf News cannot be brow-beaten or arm-twisted to silence. In the meantime, the complainant Binod Das had to take shelter in a city outside Bengal to spare himself undue pressure from the State government quarters.
It is unfortunate that the civil society and celebrities do not outrage over atrocities heaped on the majority community while they have turned one of the two versions of the story of Kathua international. It is equally surprising that the plight of Das, who hails from Bihar, does not move the Hindi language media either. If the difference between the fates of the poor eight-year-old from Jammu and the girl from Nagaon of Assam was police inaction in the first, the story from Kolkata is a more glaring example of deliberate police inaction. Not only has the niece of the kidnapped girl identified the suspect but also a court has ordered a raid of the area — to no avail! In Kathua, in the worst case scenario, the police might have botched up the initial investigation before the matter was taken up by the Crime Branch, the way the police forces of so many States do, ill-equipped and badly trained as they are to fight modern-day crimes. The messed up prima facie inquiry by Uttar Pradesh police into the murder of Aarushi and Hemraj in Noida in 2008 is a case in point.
In a State of frequent communal riots — unseen during the otherwise lacklustre rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front — a way out for the docile, timid Bengali Hindus, many of whom blissfully or ideologically live in denial, is not easy. Even if the TMC realises its policy is disastrous for the country in general and Bengal in particular, Banerjee cannot afford truly secular governance and risk all Muslim votes going back to the Left. The BJP’s conversance of Bengal is still of a distant learner while its State leadership does not inspire the confidence of many. Jash, for that matter, had solicited political intervention, too, but the local unit of the BJP was reportedly not interested. As of now, one can only hope that the Bengali community, by and large, shuns its ostrich mentality and figures out a way to avert West Bengal’s conversion to West Bangladesh where they would be deprived of all rights of citizens. That it is a matter of changing demographics does not project the danger in its entirety. Recall our coverage of Basirhat riots; Kolkata has been cordoned off. Think of the day when notorious Rohingyas settle under the aegis of the chief minister and aggravate the Muslim skew in the population achieved by both infiltration from Bangladesh and migration of Muslims from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.