In the Muslim-dominated Adwaita Nagar village in Raghunathganj sub-division of Murshidabad district, the village heads have issued a fatwa against a series of activities including playing carom, listening to music using cellphones and computers, watching television and purchasing lottery. According to the report published in the New Indian Express, Adwaita Nagar Social Reforms Committee is behind the fatwa, and they have prescribed monetary penalties and punishments in case anyone is found violating the orders.
The village has a population of 12,000, and it is located along the West Bengal-Jharkhand border.
Azharul Sheikh, the secretary of Adwaita Nagar Social Reforms Committee, said in his statement that the committee has decided to impose a ban on a series of activities. The Fatwa aims to stop the young generation from adopting methods that will lead to ‘moral and cultural degradation’. “We cannot allow them to listen to music and watch movies and serials which do not fit our religious culture,” he added.
The Fatwa was issued on 9th August, and the committee has pasted posters informing the residents of the village about the consequences for violating the dictate. Here is a list of punishments prescribed by the committee.
- Rs.1,000 fine if anyone found watching television or using mobile phone or computer to listen to music.
- Rs.500 fine if anyone found playing carom.
- Rs.2,000 for purchasing lottery.
- Rs.7,000 for selling liquor. The person’s head will be shaved, and he will be paraded in the village.
- Rs.7,000 for running a gambling racket or selling lottery tickets.
- Rs.2,000 for consuming alcohol and ten sit-ups holding ears (uthak-baithak).
Asharul said that if someone informs about a violation of rules, he or she will be rewarded by the committee with Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 depending on the nature of the offence reported.
Abdur Rauf, the Pradhan of the Trinamool Congress dominated Vasaipaikar panchayat said that there is nothing wrong in the Fatwa. He claimed that banning liquor is a good decision. “I welcome the decision to ban carom and songs using mobile phones because the youths are getting addicted to it,” he added as per the NIE report.
Joydeep Chakrabarty, block development officer of Shamsherganj stated that if someone takes law in hand, it won’t be tolerated and they will take action against the person or the group.