The only catch is that no one is actually sure what Kamlesh Tiwari really said. But even the allegation that he said something offensive to Muslims has been enough to touch off these riots, and true to form, authorities are blaming him, rather than those who go mad and burn and pillage over the slightest critical word.
“Tension simmers in Malda: Hindu leader’s ‘hate speech’ sparks violence as protesters torch cars and loot police station,” by Soudhriti Bhabani, Daily Mail India, January 4, 2016:
An uneasy calm now prevails in West Bengal’s northern Malda district, following a massive protest rally by Muslim groups on Sunday January 3 against the hate speech of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari.
Over two dozen police vehicles, including one belonging to India’s border-guarding agency Border Security Force (BSF), were torched.
Malda’s Kaliachak police station was ransacked as an irate crowd went on a violent rampage in the Muslim-dominated Sujapur area of the district.
“The situation is now under control. Regular police arrangements are there in that area to take care of the law and order part,” Malda district police superintendent Prasun Banerjee told Mail Today, refusing to divulge anything further on the situation and about the organisation which held the protest rally.
Asked about the number of arrests, the police official said that raids are on.
“No one has been arrested so far,” he added.
Armed with tall green flags, thousands of sloganeering protesters took out the march on National Highway (NH)-34 on Sunday, condemning self-proclaimed Hindu Kamlesh Tiwari’s recent hate speech about the Prophet Muhammad, though nobody knew what exactly the Hindu fundamentalist leader had said.
The violence broke out when the protesters came across a North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus that was trying to cross the rally.
They got into an argument with the driver of the bus and soon the situation got out of control. The passengers got off the bus as the protesters had set it on fire. Then the mob attacked the nearby Kaliachak police station, drove out all the policemen and ransacked the building, including its barracks.
They destroyed all the records that were stored on piled-up files and computers.
The violent mob also attacked the BDO office at Kaliachak-I, and went to Khaltipur railway station and squatted on the railway tracks in protest.
When police arrived, a clash broke out which injured several officers on duty.
As tension gripped the area, shops were shut down. The Muslim protesters also looted some nearby houses. Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were called in to take control of the situation.
Police sources said peace and normalcy were restored in the troubled area late last night.
“The situation is under control now,” Malda district magistrate Sharad Devidi told Mail Today. Sources said an organisation called Anjuman Ahle Sunnatul Jamat (ASJ) had organised the rally which led to violence in the area. However, an ASJ official later claimed that “outsiders” had masterminded the rampage.
Kamlesh Tiwari, the self-proclaimed Hindu leader, was arrested following protests across the country over his alleged remarks.
On December 3, 2015, Tiwari reportedly called the Prophet Muhammad the world’s first homosexual. He had also reportedly circulated pamphlets against the Muslim community. He was arrested in Lucknow and is currently lodged at the Lucknow District Jail.
The Lucknow police have invoked the National Security Act against Tiwari. The Hindu Mahasabha has stated that Tiwari is not at all a part of their outfit.
A case under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) was registered against Tiwari at Lucknow’s Naka Hindola police station.
The FIR against Tiwari also alleged that his statement had caused serious tension and led to protests by a community in various pockets.