At the time when West Bengal is gearing up for the Legislative Assembly elections, an alleged land grabbing case has come to the fore in Nadia district. According to a report by News Nation, local Muslims in Nadia’s Ghoshpara area have illegally grabbed 30 Bigha (approximately 10 acres) of age-old Hindu temple land to build a cemetery.
According to the report, the Hindus in the area have claimed that the local Muslims took advantage of the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to control the coronavirus pandemic and illegally acquired the state land which the Hindus were using for a long time to conduct pujas and religious ceremonies.
They built a boundary wall overnight to secure the land, dug up a few holes in the ground to make it appear like a cemetery and are now claiming that the land, where Hindus once worshipped, belongs to them.
As per the report, there is not even a single grave in the entire 30 Bigha stretch of land. Locals allege that the Muslims forcefully acquired the land in the grab of building a cemetery there, but in reality, they have just taken away the land from the Hindus.
It is pertinent to note here that West Bengal’s Nadia district has a predominantly Muslim population as it shares its borders with Bangladesh. Over the years, Nadia district has seen a major influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who have crossed over from Bangladesh to settle in this district.
In the video shared by New Nation, the local Muslims and Hindus clash with each other when the latter asks the former to produce the documents of the land. The Muslims claim that they have all the legal papers but refused to produce them when asked. They instead create a ruckus and fight with the Hindus, who accused them of illegally taking away the government land which was used by Hindus to organise religious events.
A local Hindu resident of the village, speaking to the News Nation reporter, said that along with the piece of land, the Muslims have also sealed the entrance to the village, prohibiting Hindus from freely moving in and out of the village. This has made many Hindu families contemplate leaving the village and move elsewhere.
Land was used by us to organise pujas and ceremonies in the holy month of Shravan
Another local Hindu laments that the Muslims have fenced in the entire temple land, impeding the Hindus from using it. He confirms that the land was used by Hindus to organise a religious ceremony every Thursday in the holy month of Shravan, but during the lockdown, it was forcefully seized by the Muslims.
An old lady also told News Nation that the land, which the Muslims have illegally occupied, was used by Hindus to organise pujas and ceremonies in the holy month of Shravan. She too confirms that during the lockdown, the land was converted into a cemetery by the local Muslim residents.
Moreover, a local Muslim also attested that the government land was indeed used by the Hindus to conduct pujas and religious ceremonies, but the Muslims took advantage of the lockdown to forcefully encroach the state land.
In West Bengal, instances of illegal land encroachment have become very common. Several illegal Bangladeshi migrants, who have settled in the state, have earned a lot of money through counterfeiting and drug trade and have forcibly snatched land from the poor Hindus in the state.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has always been accused of providing shelter to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and Rohingya refugees in the state. In fact, last year, while addressing a public meeting, Mamata Banerjee had asserted that all Bangladeshis living in Bengal are Indian citizens. While slamming the Assam’s NRC (National Register for Citizens) draft list, the chief minister, who is well known for her vote bank and appeasement politics to gather Muslim votes, also asserted she will not let “even a single person” be driven out of Bengal. She said no refugee, living in the state, will be deprived of citizenship.