Basirhat Communal Clashes Behind FB Posts : Minors In Hindutva Outfit’s Custody


Kolkata: Two juveniles, accused of uploading the controversial Facebook post that led to communal violence at Baduria and Basirhat in North 24 Parganas in July, are currently being given shelter by members of Hindu Samhati in Kolkata.

The Hindutva outfit has also decided to pay for the education of the minors — two friends who studied in Class XI when the riots had broken out. The prime accused was 16 when he was arrested on July 4. He had turned 17 two days later. The other accused, arrested in August, is also 17 years old. The minors, were granted bail on December 16 and released from a shelter for the juveniles in North Kolkata two days later.

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They were brought to the house of Tapan Ghosh, founder of far-right Hindutva outfit Hindu Samhati. They will stay at Ghosh’s house for the time being. At Ghosh’s place, the boys are spending time mostly between themselves. They have become friends again.

Dozens of houses and shops of Hindus were vandalised and gutted and nearly a dozen police vehicles were set on fire in the communal violence that started on July 2 and continued for three-four days in extensive areas of North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. A middle aged man was also killed.

Government officials said that the charge sheet against both was filed within 60 days and that the inquiry — in Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) trials are referred to as inquiry — have started. The statement of three witnesses have already been recorded.

While police investigation revealed that the reckless Facebook post that triggered communal clashes that went on for three days was a result of rivalry that grew between the friends, both of whom passed their 10 level exam this year.

“Their families were in shock and under pressure from local authorities for not pursuing legal methods to get the boys released. Had we not intervened, the lives of the boys would have been doomed,” said Devdutta Maji, vice-president of Hindu Samhati.

In July the police initially produced both of them in a court, showing them as adults. But later they were shifted from jail to juvenile shelter after Hindu Samhati’s lawyer established in court that both were minors.