Fact Finding Report on Telinipara Communal Violence (2020): Those Who Set the Fire


  • April 27, 2021
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The communal violence in Telinipara in Hooghly district of West Bengal occurred amidst the raging pandemic during the lockdown in early May 2020. Everyone knows there was unrest, conflict and communal violence. But what actually happened in Telinipara? What triggered the violence and what are its immediate and far-reaching effects? This is the second report by Aamra — a study group on Conflict and Co-existence, of the post-RamNavami riots in West Bengal. The English version of the first report on Bhatpara was published in GroundXero in six parts. We are now publishing the full report on conflict and violence in Telinipara in parts. This is the fifth part of the fact finding report.

 

Fact Finding Report on Telinipara, 2020

 

Those who set the fire 

 

(a) Bhatpara-Telinipara entente

 

The rioters were secretly brought in from Bhatpara – the other bank of the river Ganga – on the night of 11th May. They came by boat, and were given shelter in a few households on this bank. They were the principal vandals behind the riot that happened on 12th May, as was learnt in Telinipara. We have received a few videos and images from a special source (though we have not checked whether they are fabricated).

 

Our own investigation revealed:

 

Arjun Singh’s battalion used a few unused Ghats in Bhatpara for crossing the river. Atpur Ferry Ghat (India Jute Mill Ghat) in ward no. 21 in the Bhatpara municipality was allegedly used as well. The men crossed the river around 2-3 AM. They carried firearms and bombs, but mostly, they were equipped with swords. A total of 8-10 trips were made across the river by boat.

 

A few eyewitnesses, who are now unwilling to reveal their identities, living in the region adjacent to the Bhatpara Ghat, stated that they saw groups of 8-10 young men. When some of them peeped out through their windows, they were told, “Bhitre rahiye” – a half Hindi, half Bengali expression.

 

We identified a house in Telinipara, where the alleged rioters took shelter at night. It is right next to the river. The Hindus in Telinipara refused to talk about this. But a Muslim woman pointed it out.

 

(b) The face of RSS

 

Gopal Chandra Upadhyay is a familiar face organizing for RSS in that region. On 5th September 2020, we contacted him over the phone, asking for an appointment. He gave us one, but later informed us that since he had joined BJP, he would be busy connecting with people in the coming few weeks. Later when we tried to contact him again, he did not respond. We also failed to establish any contacts with the local BJP leadership.

 

Feroz Khan, Councilor, Trinamool Congress

 

Ever since we began to investigate the Telinipara riot for documentation, we have been trying to get in touch with Feroz Khan. But, we have not been successful. His phone was continuously found to be switched off. Finally on 5th September, 2020, we got to speak with him in his office. He had been accused of directly inciting a riot. Videos were being circulated in the social media of his provocations.

 

Feroz – What happened on 10th May was a ghotona (incident), but what happened later was an organized action. The first incident happened due to the coronavirus rumour.

Amra – We heard that many shops – especially those belonging to the Muslims – were attacked.

Feroz – No, you see, both communities were harmed. I won’t exaggerate about the Muslim side, just because I’m a Muslim myself. Hindus suffered as well. More or less.

Amra – Why are you labeling 10th May as an ‘incident’?

Feroz – You see, this was one of the places they were performing medical checkups in. The report came positive for three people – all Muslims. Imran, Nazir and the husband of the Councilor. The name of the Councilor is Reshma Khatun.

A rumour was being spread that all Muslims are carrying the virus. The Hindus were refusing to let the Muslims take water from the common area. A woman was selling packets. She wasn’t being allowed to enter the Muslim area. It was the month of Roja, Iftar was going on. Thus, we were all busy. It was around that time Arjun Singh and a few others began to build the bamboo barricade. This caused a lot of disruption and the 10th May incident happened.

Amra – Were the shops belonging to the Hindus attacked on that day?

Feroz – See I belong to the minority community. People know my name here. Publicity always comes with bad publicity. Even Vidyasagar couldn’t avoid it. Someone once told him that he was being bad-mouthed in a certain locality. He replied, why? I don’t remember having done any philanthropic work in that area!

Amra – Were there any mill workers who tested as positive?

Feroz – Yes, the mill owners told them to take leave for two weeks.

(At this point a local resident comes to Feroz with sweets, to celebrate the construction of his house.)

Feroz – Don’t interpret it as a bribe please! This man was fined for something, and I exempted him from it. Hence, the sweets.

Amra – Looks like you’re quite popular here! So what’s the badmouthing you were talking about?

Feroz – I was talking about Paikpara, three days before 10th May. The number of Muslim residents is quite low there. The Bihari Hindus gheraoed the common space, and we’re stopping the Muslims from using the public toilets. When I reached the spot, one of them physically barred my way. I was enraged and blabbered something. I said, just because you’re a majority in this area you’re stopping us. We’ll also stop you from using public facilities in places where we are the majority. If you are creating issues for us here, you, too, will have to face the consequences. This became a public post within 15 minutes. They just highlighted: “We will sweep you off this area in 15 minutes!”

Amra – Didn’t you make that comment?

Feroz – They created it on the phone.

Amra – But many have seen you making this comment in the video.

(Feroz stays silent.)

Amra – Whatever you just admitted to saying is quite an attacking statement as well.

(Silence)

Amra – As a councilor or as a political person, do you anticipate more such violence?

Feroz – This will go on till 2021. I’ve been a councilor twice, first time with a Congress ticket and now with Trinamool. This will keep recurring in the entire West Bengal till 2021. It’s just that this time Telinipara’s name became tarnished. Wherever migrants from Bihar, UP etc. reside, such as Telinipara, Champdani, Hajinagar near Naihati, Bhatpara etc., such incidents will recur. You won’t understand if you see these places now – the fire is smoldering under the ashes. It will flare up any day.

Amra – It has been alleged that some of the local Hindus and Muslims who took part in the riot were TMC members – both communities. Please comment on that.

Feroz – The first commotion was an accident. The second one was well-planned and organized.

Amra – Surely there have been FIRs. Have the names of local residents appeared?

Feroz – My name wasn’t mentioned. About 50 people have been accused. Perhaps 5 have been involved and for that a thousand are being harassed.

Amra – Why so? We’ve heard that many innocent people, even women, have been taken to the police station by force.

Feroz – That’s what the police have done. What can we say!

Amra – But the police work under your own party’s government, isn’t it?

Feroz – You see, they have changed sides. When an insider turns into your enemy… for example, Arjun Singh – he was in TMC, he knows everything about the party.

Amra – Even when Arjun Singh was in TMC, he was accused of inciting riots.

Feroz – Some 20 of us are sitting in this room, right? If one of us exits the room now, he would know where we all are, isn’t it? First Mukul Roy went – he was a grassroot leader. Then Shubhendu Adhikari.

Amra – Is he going to the BJP? Some ‘new information’ seems to be coming up everyday.

Feroz – Yes, he has been given the proposal of being the CM.

Amra – We also heard Sourav Ganguly’s name for that.

Feroz – Shubhendu is different. He has a mass base.

Amra – Let’s go back to the point where you said it was an accident.

Feroz – It was.

Amra – Whose shops were vandalized?

Feroz – Hindu shops. Hundred percent theirs. I won’t lie.

Amra – Was there a face-to-face battle?

Feroz – No, it happened sporadically.

Amra – And that tarnished your name.

Feroz – Yes.

Amra – Hasn’t your party asked you about the details?

(Feroz keeps silent for a while.)

Feroz – Yes, we have sorted it out.

 

Those who carried water 

 

Goala Basti (cowherds’ slum) is situated close to Paikpara. It comprises of 50-60 households, belonging to the Yadavs, who came from Bihar, and are connected to the businesses that deal with cattle and milk. When the riot spread its dark fire, they stood with ‘water’ in their hands. They stood with the Muslim families and fearlessly faced the rioters. We spoke to them in their cattle shed –

 

We met Krishna Kumar Yadav, about 55 years old. He is a man with a bold outlook and a strong voice. There were also others — Mukesh Rai, aged 60 years, Dilip Yadav, aged 41 years.

 

Krishna – We are living here for 40-50 years. They are like our own relatives. Like Chacha, Bhatija, Bhai-Dada… (uncle, nephew, brother). The good and bad of our communities are intertwined. They help us when we face any problem and vice versa. This is what happens when you live as neighbours for a long time.

Amra – The Hindu rioters came this way on 12th May, to attack the Muslim neighbourhood. Many Muslim families, after their houses were vandalized, took shelter in the Haji Muhammad Mohsin School; even now, some of them are living there. Please tell us about that day.

Krishna – There were many rioters who came with weapons. We, the Yadavs, faced them and didn’t let them enter.

Amra – How many of you were there?

Krishna – Some 50-60 households. Many are now at our native place, unable to come back due to the lockdown. Some 150 of us live here. We guarded the Muslims of our locality, that’s it.

We have been here for some 100 years – we Yadavs. Our forefathers moved here. I myself have lived here since 1965.

Amra – Have you seen such riots before? What’s your experience?

Krishna – We never saw a riot as severe as this. During our fathers’ time, there were small incidents. My father and his friends managed to stop them. The caste and religious based discrimination never meant a thing to us. Nor is it a factor now. We believe in humanity.

Many of us have been born and brought up here. My birth may have not taken place here, but I grew up here, I studied here. Don’t I have Muslim friends? Isn’t that natural? Not all humans are the same. We believe ourselves to be friends of Lord Krishna, believing in love and harmony.

Amra – If the incident recurs…?

Krishna – We will stop them again.

Mukesh – We will stop them again. If it happens without us knowing, that’s a different thing. But no riot can take place when we are on the watch. Each life is valuable, everyone has children in the house.

 

After this conversation, we go to the adjacent Muslim locality. Sheikh Ajmal (aged 30 years) seated us below a peepal tree. A few men were already there, sitting on a cot, talking amongst themselves. We spoke to a few community leaders and elders. Below is the summary of those conversation –

 

Masiha hain ye log (These people are like gods born in human form). They saved us, they saved our women’s honour, our children’s childhoods. Krishna calls us Chacha, we were friends with his father. My friend will pray for him from heaven, for how Krishna saved us.”

Amra (to Ajmal) – But Ajmal, this news has not at all come out in the media. We have only come to know about the violence and the fire.

Ajmal – To tell you the truth, no party has helped us here. Nor has the police. In many other places the Yadavs might have joined the riot, but here it has been different.

Amra – Why?

Ajmal – I call Krishna my elder brother. He is nothing short of that. We are always helping each other. The role of the TMC Muslim leader hasn’t been fair in this area. Now many are trying to show as if they are working in support of the Muslims. But there have also been provocations.

Amra – And RSS?

Ajmal – RSS is very much present here, of course. How can there be such an organized attack otherwise?

Amra – But there are other regions where the Hindu and the Muslims have lived together, have shared their past. Why haven’t they shown such solidarity?

An old man – Baat Krishna aur Nabi ka nahi hain beta, baat dusra hai (It is not a question of Krishna and the Prophet, my son, the matter is something else).

Amra – What’s the matter then, Nana (Grandfather)?

Old man – Baat kursi ka hai (The matter is about the electoral seat).

Everyone begins to laugh. Our laughter shines in the afternoon sun.

 

(4)

Police, politics, and…

 

What was the exact role of the police in Telinipara? This question naturally kept appearing in our fact-finding journey. The people – irrespective of religion – stated the following:

 

1) The riot did not ‘happen’, it was ‘allowed to happen’. The police may not have been obviously present, but their role as a facilitator in the background has been quite apparent. The police have remained unmoved, even when the rumours about coronavirus and Muslims were being spread through social media.

 

2) Though the police were aware that there could be a riot any day after 10th May, they did not take any precaution. The rioters arrived from Bhatpara, the Hindutva leaders gathered their goons – could all this have happened without the police’s knowledge?

 

3) The police refused to take FIRs, forced people to file ‘missing’ charges instead of ‘looting’ or ‘setting fire’.

 

4) An immense number of complaints have been submitted, stating that the police intervened with a communal bias. On 10th May, the shops of Hindu shopkeepers were vandalized, set on fire to, looted. Within two days, on 12th May, there was an organized ‘revenge’. According to the common people, both the scripts have been written by the police. On 10th May, the Muslim rioters were made to win, on 12th May, the Hindu rioters were – both thanks to the police, administration and politicians. We have spoken to about 400 people in Telinipara’s riot-affected areas between May and September. Those who made the above complaints, have been quite direct about it. We are changing the names in order to protect their identities.

 

(A) Conversation with a civic police 

 

Civic police (CP) – That day it was raining, A phone call came from Telinipara with the information that the rioters had entered the region and were beating up people. I called our IG. He said that he was going to send a police force. After a while, I called him again to inform him that the force hadn’t arrived yet. He asked me if I had others with me. I am Azharuddin (name changed). He asked two of us to go there, telling us that the force was already there. We went, but there was no force. The rioters were roaming around holding open swords – destroying shops, Scorpio cars.

Amra – Where was this?

CP – Line no. 9. We saw all this, and came back. Then I called Lala Bhai, Imam Uddin and Ali, and went there again. Then the rioters started fleeing. Slowly we started taking the people out of the debris. The next day nothing happened, but the day after, once again, the situation went hostile around noon. Once again I called the IG, from near that school.

Amra – When did the commotion take place in Line no. 9?

CP – On 10th, when the riot happened here, two people were grievously injured. Then on 12th, there was another riot. That day the Muslim households were set on fire.

I called my supervisors from near Ankur Nursing Home (I was posted there that day), but they didn’t do anything. I called Boro Babu (OC), but he didn’t pick up.

Amra – Is the Borobabu still on duty?

CP – No, he has been transferred. His name is Nandan Panigrahi. After this, I didn’t try to call anyone anymore. It was the month of Roja. Some officials came on behalf of the Chairman – we explained everything to them.

Amra – What did you tell them?

CP – That the administration has not arrived. The public has seen it all. Municipality Chairman, Vice Chairman – none of them came. The Fire Brigade building is right next to the Nursing Home. It would have taken them a minute to arrive. But, they did not come. Water was not running. But, I won’t blame the employee there. He is human too, he got stuck somewhere. Later, the pump house was opened and the line began to function. This was what I had told those officials from the DM’s office. I told them that neither the Chairman nor the Vice Chairman came to our area. Arrangements were made for providing shelter to the riot-affected Muslim families from Line no. 9 – Nobody came to supervise even those. Some paid a visit four days after everything was over. They took a bit of an offence when I said all this. Imam Uddin’s relative’s house was being used as a shelter for the riot-affected people. The Vice Chairman called him and threatened him, “You people are creating a lot of drama!” Imam’s brother told him, just because he was the Vice Chairman, he couldn’t say whatever came to his mind. This was reported to the DSP. Later we were called to the police station and reprimanded; they told us, being part of the administration, we should not have made such comments. I admitted that we were part of the administration, but I also emphasized that they must be just, not unfairly judgmental.

We were both transferred for raising these questions.

Amra – Where to?

CP – For now, Chandannagar.

 

(B) Amra fact finding team: threat, detention, and the Telinipara warriors

 

It was 10th June, literally a month after the communal violence in Telinipara. We had gone there to speak to the affected people. We started out from the Faiz Ahmad Faiz School. Some of the riot-affected Muslim families had taken shelter there.

 

It was about 1:30pm. Faruk-Ul-Islam and Shubhankar Sengupta – two members of the fact-finding team – were standing near Paqeeza in F. G. Street, Telinipara. They were trying to understand more about the riot, about the helplessness of the individuals. Suddenly the police arrived. A team of 10-12 policemen under IC Kaushik Kumar Banerjee, Bhadreswar police station, surrounded them and began to ask, “Why are you taking photos here? Why are you talking to them?”  Faruk asked, “Can’t we even talk to people? It’s not like Section 144 has been implemented here.” The IC replied, “Come with us to the police station.” Faruk and Shubhankar were taken to the police station. On hearing that, Shubha Pratim Roychoudhury and Amitabha Sengupta – two other members of the team – reached the police station as well.

 

After waiting for one and half hours, we were summoned to the Telinipara Outpost In-Charge Atanu Maji’s office. Among the present officials, there were IC Kaushik Kumar Banerjee, Bhadreswar police station and IPS Palash Chandra Dhali, DSP, Chandannagar Police Commissionerate. A so-called interrogation began. The conversation is being presented here under the name of the respective speakers.

 

Kaushik – How many of you were there?

Shubha Pratim – Four of us.

Kaushik – What do you mean by four? There were more people. We saw at least two more people.

Shubha Pratim – No, it was four of us. A local person was just showing us around.

Kaushik – Where were you?

Shubha Pratim and Amitabha – We came later. We were in the Faiz Ahmad Faiz Urdu High School.

Kaushik (pointing at Shubhankar) – There, two more people were with you.

Shubhankar – No, only the boy whose house we were visiting. The boy was wearing spectacles – he was showing us around.

Palash Chandra – How many members of your team were present there?

Shubhankar – Four.

Palash Chandra – All four are present here?

Shubhankar – Yes

Palash Chandra – Why are you here? Who are you?

Shubha Pratim – We are associated with a group of researchers.

Palash Chandra (asking for papers) – What proof do you have?

Shubha Pratim – We are not carrying any papers. We can send you papers by email though. We came here, as the Math teacher of the Faiz Ahmad School, informed us that there were some issues in this area. Some people are not getting enough food. Some other issues as well… If we could come…

Palash Chandra – Listen to me.

Shubha Pratim – Yes, please go ahead.

Palash Chandra – You have come here knowing what the situation is?

Shubha Pratim – Section 144 hasn’t been implemented here.

Kaushik – So what?

Palash Chandra – You’re such strange people!

Kaushik – You are outsiders. How do we know whether you have come to provoke people or not?

Shubha Pratim – Then you have to know what we do. There is no question of provocation.

Kaushik – Just because there is no 144, can you outsiders simply enter this area?

Shubha Pratim – We don’t know how you define “outsiders.” We are not outsiders. We belong here.

Kaushik – Where have you come from?

Shubha Pratim – Some of us are from Shrirampur, some from Chandannagar. Some are from other districts.

Kaushik – So none of you are from Bhadreswar or Telinipara.

Palash Chandra – What’s the basis for your visit?

Shubha Pratim – As I told you, we came here as a group of researchers. We work on peace.

Palash Chandra – You can’t just claim anything.

Shubha Pratim – Then you must get to know our work.

Palash Chandra – Do you have any identity card?

Shubha Pratim – Yes. (Shows the cards)

Palash – Is this an NGO?

Shubha Pratim – It is an international human rights association.

Palash Chandra – You must answer each of my questions directly.

Shubha Pratim – That’s what I did.

Palash Chandra (loudly) – Just listen to me, okay? Tell us only what’s asked. I don’t like it.

Shubha Pratim – That’s up to you. As I told you, Front Line Defender is an international association, just like Amnesty International.

Palash Chandra (After the cards are checked) – Okay. Now tell us the reason behind your visit.

Shubha Pratim – I told you. Ours is a research group. We came to this school to see how the riot has affected the people. We came here to see if we could do something to help. We have also visited the Amphan affected areas. Two of them (pointing at Faruk and Amitabha) went there to help the victims of Amphan. He (pointing at Amitabha) is a university professor.

Here too, we are trying to understand how badly people have been affected. They are being fed twice a day in the camps, but there are other needs. Many have no spare clothes, many need medicines. Some people were planning a medical camp, but it would cause people to gather, which is problematic right now. It has to be allowed by the administration. We were talking about all this.

Palash Chandra – What’s the point of talking about all this? Shubha Pratim Babu, what’s your purpose?

Shubha Pratim – I already told you a few times, we wish to understand their problems by talking to them. This is what we do. Such as understanding the need for the medical camp, providing salwar kameez to the women etc.

Amitabha – If you look at our reports, you will understand what we do. We do not go around provoking people.

Palash Chandra – What is the proof that you’re not lying? Look you’re not stupid, nor am I. This is a sensitive issue. Group theaters come here to create rumours. We have already filed 17 cases against such groups, under the charge of ‘spreading of false information’. Many people have complained about it and we have taken the necessary steps. It is not an area where relief work like Amphan-affected areas can be done. It is an extremely communally sensitive area. It has remained sensitive for ages. Then you come here and claim that there is no Section 144 implemented. This is a mistake on your part. If coming here was such a non-issue, then we wouldn’t have been posted here for a month.

This is why I’m asking again, why have you come here? What if you send these photos somewhere!

Amitabha – We are not a media team.

Shubha Pratim – We are already running a medical camp for the riot-affected people in Bhatpara, with the help of Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, Kolkata. Although now it has stopped due to lockdown. We have done it with the due permission of the administration.

Palash Chandra – Look it’s different here. Did it not pass your mind that there could be a need to take permission from the police station?

Shubha Pratim – Since Section 144 hasn’t been implemented here, we didn’t think about it.

Amitabha – If we had decided to stay relief work here, we would have come to you.

Palash Chandra – You have entered this area, but did not care to inform the police that you would like to make some inquiries. You didn’t even think about it once?

Shubha Pratim – You see, when people are calling us for help…

Palash Chandra – Like I told you, we were requested by a school-teacher, who is also a social worker in this area, trying to help the affected people. Even if you don’t know us, others know about us, since we work on communal harmony.

Palash Chandra – You didn’t bother to inform the police! You don’t know how much danger you have got yourself in. (Loudly) I’m trying to help you.

Shubha Pratim – Thanks for that.

Palash Chandra – Don’t try to justify.

Shubha Pratim – No, we didn’t justify ourselves. We were just doing our duty.

Palash Chandra – The 18th case will be in your name.

Shubha Pratim (smiling) – You can surely do that.

Palash Chandra – This is for your own good, and you are talking back to me! We’ll file a case in your name. You’ve come to investigate here! You have taken photos, talked to the people! We’ll show you what we can do. You know what we can do, don’t you? We’ll file cases.

Shubha Pratim – We have made our statement. Now it’s up to you to do what you want to do.

(After sometime)

Palash Chandra – What do you think? Since you work on human rights, you can do whatever you want? You can just pick up a camera…

Kaushik – Do you have approval from NHRC?

Shubha Pratim – What’s that?

Kaushik – Approval from the State Human Rights.

Shubha Pratim – We inform the NHRC if we get to know about violation of human rights.

Palash Chandra – Anybody can do that.

Shubha Pratim – That’s correct.

Kaushik – Do you have any affiliation provided by the NHRC?

Shubha Pratim – There is no such affiliation. We are a registered body, we work on human rights, do field research and such. We work on peace.

Amitabha – We are a registered body.

Kaushik – You’re a registered organization?

Amitabha – Of course.

Palash Chandra (in a rough voice) – If you want to get inside an area where some commotion has happened, you are supposed to ask for permission from the local authority.

Kaushik – For taking photos as well. Any person needs to take permission for that.

Shubhankar – We’re not media.

Kaushik – Then why were you taking photos? Even the media needs to take permission. Why were you taking photos? What is the purpose of this video?

Shubha Pratim – Since we were talking to people, we were recording it. That’s the purpose.

Shubhankar – He was showing that the shop had been vandalized. Before we could complete our shooting, you arrived.

Kaushik – We wish to see what you’ve shot.

Shubhankar – Sure.

Kaushik – What was the purpose of taking photos?

Shubhankar – Look, I’m a freelance photographer. I’ve come with this group.

Kaushik – What research?

Shubhankar – We have already explained what the research is about. We were thinking about conducting some relief work after talking to the local people. The photos were taken for the same purpose.

Kaushik – Relief for what?

Shubhankar – That too has already been mentioned. (Pointing at Shubha Pratim) He has explained.

Kaushik – What’s your purpose? What do you want to do?

Amitabha – We want to conduct a medical camp.

Kaushik – How is that possible at this point?

Amitabha – Yes, if we decide to do it, we’ll take permission from the administration. We also wish to provide clothes [to the riot-affected people]. We have brought some clothes.

Kaushik – For doing all of that, you’ll need to take permission from the local police station. But, I’m still unable to understand why you came today.

Faruk – We have explained many times.

Kaushik – You came and spoke to just one category of people.

Shubha Pratim and Faruk – No, we wish to speak to all the people, and we have done that.

Shubha Pratim – Shastri School, where the riot…

Kaushik – A crowd was assembling because of your presence, social distancing was being violated, a social gathering was taking place. We will file a case in your name for violating lockdown.

Shubha Pratim – Please go ahead.

Palash Chandra – (At Kaushik Babu) Take their details. (At Shubha Pratim) How many cameras do you have?

Shubhankar – There are cameras, but no photos. We hadn’t even started taking photos. Just when I took the camera out, you stopped us.

(The memory disk was taken out of a camera and checked by Palash Babu in a laptop.)

Shubha Pratim – Who will take our details?

(Palash Babu calls someone named Tapa loudly, and instructs him to take our cards. Then the two of them left us and went out. After a while, they both came back and began to take our details. Amitabha informed me that he taught in a college and such. After this phase was over, Kaushik Babu told us to sit outside his chamber, and wait for the local in-charge, Atanu Maji, to get back to us to provide further instructions. Atanu Maji came after another ten minutes.)

Atanu Maji – We have come to know who you are. Several phone calls came to us about you. This is a routine that we must maintain.

Amra – Understood. But making us wait for such a long time amounts to stopping us from doing our work. We have the right to talk to people, right?

Atanu – Yes, I understand. Let me know if you need any help.

Amra – Thanks. May we go now?

Atanu – Yes.

 

Next day, 11th June, 2020, we lodged a complaint against the illegal detention and threat of arrest in the Telinipara police station. We stated that the claim made by the police about the necessity to take permission for going to that area had no legal basis. We wished to continue our field research in order to understand what had happened in that area, as per our organization’s policy, and we stated that we should be able to do that without any hassle or harassment. The statement also demanded that legal steps be taken against the corresponding police officers.

 

On 13th June, 2020, a complaint was lodged to NHRC on behalf of Amra, petitioning to penalize the accused police officers appropriately, and also demanding formal apologies from the accused police officers, to the human rights activists. NHRC accepted this letter (DIARY NUMBER- 7817/IN/2020).

 

(Our letters of complaints can be found here and here.)

 

Read Part 6: What was Lost on the River Side

 

 

 

 

 

……………………………..

Fact-finding Report on Telinipara, 2020

By AAMRA Ek Sachetan Prayas Forum

Date of Publication: 2nd October, 2020

Team Members: Amitava Sengupta, Faruque Ul Islam, Subha Protim Roy Chowdhury, Ipsita Chakraborty, Subhankar Sengupta, Saurajit Pramanick, Saumen Ghosh, Rajesh Naskar

Associates: Sheikh Ajmal, Abhishek Mukherjee, Subhankar Mukherjee

Edited by: Amitava Sengupta, Subha Protim Roy Chowdhury

Published by – Mohit Randip

Email – aamrasachetan@gmail.com

Website – aamrabharatbarsha.com

Phone no. – 7044967575, 8697095776, 8820852054

 

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