'Love Jihad in Rajasthan most unfortunate, unprecedented'
Kolkata: Describing the 'Love Jihad' incident in Rajasthan in which Mohammad Afrajul Khan was burnt to death on Thursday as "most unfortunate and unprecedented," Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee said neither the Rajasthan government nor the Narendra Modi government in the Centre can shed responsibility.
He was leading a candlelight march to condemn the incident on Friday evening. The procession started from Hazra Road and ended at Gandhi statue. Along with Banerjee, Trinamool leaders Subrata Bakshi, Firhad Hakim, Sabyasachi Dutta and Debashis Kumar also took part in the rally. Addressing the gathering, Banerjee said such incidents are very common in the states being ruled by BJP. "You can find such incidents in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan," he said, adding "but in Bengal, in the past six years, not a single incident of this type has taken place. This is because Bengal has always highlighted communal harmony and peace. In Bengal, there is no divisive politics. Also, violence has not spread in Bengal."
Banerjee said the spouses of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Khan are Hindus "but religion did not come in the way." He argued that Afrajul was brutally murdered and then the body was set on fire "just because he was a poor man belonging to the minority community." He said the accused should be given exemplary punishment. Launching a scathing attack on state BJP, Banerjee said the president of the state unit has supported processions with arms and "the result of such processions is the killing of an innocent man in Rajasthan. The party is unnecessarily spreading violence in the country," he maintained.
The rally started from Hazra Road, passed through SP Mukherjee Road, Jawaharlal Nehru Road and then converged at Gandhi statue. Trinamool Congress supporters took part in the rally, along with many common people. Banerjee said that in all the 314 blocks in Bengal, meetings and rallies to condemn the incident will take place on Saturday.
Firhad Hakim, state Urban Development minister said he, along with some senior leaders of the party, will go to Kaliachowk in Malda, the birthplace of Afrajul Khan.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already spoken to the wife of the slain person. The state government will give Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and a job to one of the family members. Condemning the incident, Hakim said "the incident was barbaric" and demanded capital punishment for the accused.