KOLKATA: Mediapersons were attacked at an event where 14 Muslims of a family were openly converted to Hinduism by radical organisation Hindu Samhati at Rani Rashmoni Avenue in central Kolkata on Wednesday.
Journalists of several media outlets were attacked by Hindu Samhati members when they questioned the circumstances under which the 14 members of the family of Hossain Ali, which included several children, were converted into Hinduism and whether they were forcibly converted. It was earlier announced during the event that media won’t be allowed to speak with the members of the converted family.
Speaking on the occasion of the foundation day of the organisation on Wednesday, Hindu Samhati chief Tapan Ghosh said that the 14 people were undertaking ‘ghar waapsi’ and more such conversion programmes would be openly held in different parts of West Bengal. Ghosh was detained by the police soon after the event.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the attacked and said that strict action would be taken against the accused. Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh distanced the saffron party from Hindu Samhati and condemned the attack.
Left Front leader Sujan Chakraborty said that Hindu Samhati vented their frustration by attacking media as they had no answers to their queries.
On the other hand, Municipal Affairs and Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim, one of the top Muslim faces of the ruling party, compared Hindu Samhati with Jamaat-e-Islami.
“It is unconstitutional to attack journalists and spread religious hatred. Like Jamaat-e-Islami is bringing bad name to Islam, Hindu Samhati is bringing bad name to Hinduism. They neither have Hinduism nor have samhati (assent). Strict action would be taken against them,” he said.
Information Technology minister Bratya Basu expressed confidence that ‘conversion politics’ won’t work in West Bengal by referring to the burning of Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines in Odisha. “If they think that they can bring the culture of burning Graham Staines in Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal, they are living in a fool’s paradise,” he said.
Formed in 2008 by Tapan Ghosh, Hindu Samhati website states that it is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). The organisation claims that it stood beside Hindus in every major communal violence in the state and has organisational strength in 12 of the 23 districts and can influence votes in 80 of the 294 Assembly seats of the state.