Rather than protecting, Bengal police gave us 2 minutes to flee our own homes: Dhulagarh riot victims tell India Today

Many have fled the area, leaving behind charred remains of their burnt houses, broken and ransacked by outsiders.

It’s been two weeks since violence broke out in Dhulagarh, a small town on the outskirts of Kolkata in Howrah district, but a sense of fear is palpable on the ground.

People remain homeless as those who have suffered violent mob attacks are weary of returning to their homes, barely 20 km away from the West Bengal secretariat “Nabanna” in Howrah district.

Many have fled the area, leaving behind charred remains of their burnt houses, broken and ransacked by outsiders.

“We can’t live here anymore so we have taken shelter in our relatives place. Police came that day but when we were attacked even the cops ran away,” said Rampada Manna as his wife Seema struggled to gather whatever belonging was left intact after the riots.

Manna, a barber who runs a family of three was at home when a violent mob broke open his gate and vandalized his house. “We are very poor. We somehow managed to buy a laptop for our son but they took it away. They also stole Rs 65,000 we had kept for LIC,” says Seema.


Just adjacent to the Manna household on Banerjee para lives the Mondal’s. Maitri Mondal, a mother of two says she heard chants of “Pakistan Zindabad” as the violent mob entered her bedroom and set it ablaze.

“My son will appear in his board exams this February but they have destroyed everything. All his books are gutted and my son is in trauma now,” she says weeping, pointing at a few charred pages on her sons study desk.


“For five hours they created mayhem and the police came when everything was lost. Not a single minister has visited us yet,” she adds.

With politics peaking over the Dhulagarh riots, none have heard these desperate pleas for help by those who have lost everything in the mindless violence. The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 35,000 for the riot victims but most say that is simply not enough.

Eversince the incident, prohibitory orders have been in place and movement has been restricted in Dhulagarh amidst a massive security presence. No one knows what exactly triggered the riots soon after Eid-e-Milad-Un-Nabi celebrations on December 12. But, amidst all the hearsay, the anger against the administration, especially over police inaction remains universal.


Dilip Khanra was among many who had locked themselves up inside a room when the mob was nearing the village, pelting crude bombs one after another.

“When the police came, we were told to leave our houses in two minutes! They didn’t even stop the mob from vandalizing our homes. They kept looting and burning as the police stood as silent spectators,” he says.

His neighbor, 32-year-old Subhra Khanra too fled for her life on that fateful day. The mob set a portion of her house on fire forcing her family to now take shelter in a local temple.

“They were carrying petrol and kerosene in drums and had come fully prepared. After looting our jewellery and money they set everything else on fire. Where will we go now?” she asked.


The police on its part have remained silent over the entire period. The state government has barred the entry of opposition political parties and the media into the area.

Successive delegations of the Congress, BJP and CPI(M) have been stopped within a radius of a few kilometres of the troubled area by the police.  Facing the heat, chief minister Mamata Banerjee may have promptly removed the Police Superintendent of Howrah (Rural) district, but despite dozens being detained the situation on the ground remains far from normal.

Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/


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