City-based Muslims in Kolkata wrote an open letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urging to not spare the accused, who are Muslims, in the recent attack on doctors at the NRS Hospital and harassment of former Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta.
Muslims from all walks of life, who have been living in Kolkata for several decades, came together to tell the CM that "they were deeply grieved with these recent incidents". They wrote in the letter that the CM should act decisively against the accused as that would help overcome the perception that they are being "shielded or appeased".
"The attackers in both instances were members of our community. We are grieved and embarrassed. Bring the assailants to book not just in these two instances but in every single instance where Muslims are involved. They should not be allowed to get away because they happen to be Muslims (as is the perception). This will send out a message that members of one community are not being shielded or appeased (as most people believe)," stated the letter, which is signed by 46 Muslim citizens of the city.
The letter also urged the government to initiate programmes which would "educate and encourage" Muslim youths and families in Kolkata regarding "gender sensitization, civic consciousness and law compliance."
Full text of the letter
Which incidents are being discussed in the letter?
West Bengal Doctors' protest: The family members of an octogenarian patient, who passed away, at Kolkata's Nilratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital, attacked the resident doctors – Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwani - alleging medical negligence.
While Mukhopadhyay wound up with a fractured skull Tekwani was admitted to the ICU.
Following the attack, the junior doctors of NRS had locked up the hospital gates and stopped work at the outpatient department (OPD) as a mark of protest. The incident triggered widespread demonstrations across the state-run medical college and hospitals in West Bengal.
Former Miss India Universe Ushoshi Sengupta harassed by youths: Former Miss India Universe Ushoshi Sengupta was allegedly harassed by a group of unidentified men in Kolkata while she was on her way back home from work on Monday (June 17).
Ushoshi booked a cab from a five-star hotel and was returning home with a colleague at around 11.40 pm when her cab was stopped and even the driver was assaulted by the group.
Muslim support for Mamata
According to post-poll studies conducted after the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, 70 per cent of the Muslim community in West Bengal voted for Mamata's Trinamool Congress. Muslims from around 30 per cent of the total population in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged Mamata Banerjee of appeasing the Muslim community through her politics multiple times. After reports came out claiming that people have been arrested for sloganeering "Jai Shree Ram", these allegations became stronger. Various doctored video clips with a communal message, that went viral on social media before and post the election, were also a part of this.
Former TMC MP Sugata Bose also said after the election, "We haven't seen this degree of religious polarisation in Bengal since 1947 and you know the bigotry of that period led to a huge human tragedy. So we have to avoid that kind of attitude. We must stress equality and unity at this point."
"I personally feel that the Bengal government should not have given the allowance to Muslims. Rather they should have given equality, housing and credit banking. I do believe that something needed to be done for the Muslims in Bengal who have been left behind as shown in the Sachar Committee report but I would have wanted the government to concentrate on equality of opportunity in education and the employment and also making sure that there was fair access to housing and bank credit. That is what should have been done," he added.