Temples desecrated, idols broken in Bengal

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Kolkata: Late on Tuesday night, a group of miscreants went on a rampage in Haldia in East Midnapore district of West Bengal. Groups of goons entered homes and ransacked domestic Hari temples in several villages coming under the Bhavanipur police station area.

On the day of Shiva Chaturdashi, a group of miscreants desecrated the decades-old Kali idols situated at the local All Star Club premises and breaking off their heads before escaping. A number of Saraswati idols prepared by an idol maker for the upcoming Saraswati Puja have been damaged elsewhere in the locality. According to sources, the police have visited the area to investigate the matter.

There is tension in the region after criminals ran amok in areas like Gewadab, Chaulghola, Shibramnagar last Tuesday night. This is the latest in a series of communal incidents leading to religious tension in West Bengal.

It is becoming virtually impossible not to see the clear pattern that has emerged in West Bengal over the past few years. Not even a month has passed since the Dhulagarh riots when there was large-scale violence on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, when dozens of homes were burned and shops plundered. A number of Hindu families were forced to flee the region under threat of death. The state government had actually refused to see any problem even then, flatly denying the very communal colour of the riots and dubbing the incident as insignificant local skirmishes.

Going back another month, there were more riots right after the Durga Puja, when there were communal clashes in at least 11 distinct localities in South Bengal between Hindu and Muslim groups when Muharram coincided with Vijaya Dashami celebrations. The violent Kaliachak riots in the Malda district in 2016, as well as the Deganga and Canning riots in the recent past which were mostly suppressed in media are also proof of a morbid pattern emerging in the latest years.

Decades of government apathy and systematic ignoring of valid concerns have seen a slow but steady deterioration of the communal situation in Bengal, the latest of which is manifest in the desecration of temples and idols in Haldia.