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West Bengal: Locals in Malda accuse a police officer of trying to forcibly convert Hindus to Islam, women stage protest

Several women protested in front of Malda post office against Inspector-in-Charge of Kaliachak police staion saying that he is forcing them to convert to Islam

A group of Hindu women in Malda in West Bengal have accused the Inspector-in-Charge of a local police station of forcibly trying to convert them and their husbands to Islam. The incident took place in Kaliachak town in Malda district of West Bengal.

The matter came to light after a video of a female BJP worker, narrating the ordeal of the said women, went viral on social media. In the undated video, the BJP worker informed that several posters had come up near the post office in the Englishbazar area of the Malda district. The protesting women were seen holding several placards saying that the police officer is forcing them to convert to Islam. They had also hung several banners behind them in front of Malda post office saying that they will resist this and will not change their religion.

She pointed out that a demonstration was being carried out by three Hindu women, whose husbands were incarcerated by the police. “I salute them for their courage… They are protesting by themselves in the middle of the city. We have not given them as much attention as they deserve,” she remarked.

“Their firm resolve to not convert, despite mounting pressure, is a sign of bravery,” the BJP worker was heard as saying. She directed the camera towards a few saffron posters, which encapsulated the objective behind the demonstration carried out by the 3 women.

“The Inspector-in-Charge of Kaliachak Thana has ordered us to convert to Islam. He is using various pressure tactics to ensure that we become Muslims. We do not want to change our religion,” read one banner, located adjacent to the statue of Hindutva icon Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

“If we don’t listen to him, then, he will continue to intimidate, arrest and harass us,” read another banner. The BJP worker had expressed fear that the State of West Bengal might soon turn into Bangladesh. She has also accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of complicity in allowing illegal immigration from Bangladesh

“We need to stay vigil and stand by each other in such a time of crisis…This is not the fight of a few people,” she appealed to everyone to support the Hindu demonstrators in their endeavor.

BJP demands safety of Hindus in West Bengal

While condemning the incident, BJP (West Bengal) chief Sukanta Majumdar lamented how a law enforcement officer was coercing poor Hindu women and their families to convert to Islam. He pointed out that it is the responsibility of the State to protect the Freedom of Right to Religion of citizens.

“The government must ensure the safety of Hindus in West Bengal. The complaint of these families should be taken seriously and the accused police officer should be removed from service if found guilty. Otherwise, BJP will hit the streets in the coming days,” he had warned.

While reacting to the development, former Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy tweeted, “The community (Bengali Hindus in this case) which conveniently forgets atrocities committed against them in romanticising the world is doomed to have a fate like this.”

He had also shared a newspaper cutting from December last year, wherein it was reported that 2 Hindus were forced to convert to Islam through fear.

The Kaliachak area in Malda has been a hotbed of communal tensions in the past. In January 2016, frenzied Muslim mobs went on carnage and attacked the police and the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. They torched several vehicles and injured several uniformed officers over remarks made by deceased Hindu leader Kamlesh Tiwari.

Besides attacking police stations, vehicles, and cops, the Shani temple, Durga Temple and other Hindu temples were also attacked at Baliadanga. Around 25 Hindu houses and shops were also ransacked. A 22-year-old RSS activist Gopal Tiwari sustained a gunshot too. It took hours for police to bring the situation under control, after several shots of blank firing.

No forcible conversions: Malda Police

After the reports on social media, Malda Police has come out and denied any incidents of forcible conversions. As per a Twitter post from Malda District Police, both the men converted of their own free will as per their statement in Court.

The local police also said that the posts being shared on social media are false and politically motivated.

*This article was updated based on the police response to the social media posts

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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