As communal tensions continue to rise after the violent Ram Navami clashes in West Burdwan, one Muslim trader from Asansol’s Qurashi Mohalla is reinstating people’s faith in communal harmony.
Muslim trader Haji Nahnane Khan came forward to donate an amount of 1,20,000 rupees to help 12 persons (with Rs 10,000 each) to restart their businesses after their shops were ransacked in the violence on March 25.
The trader’s help has literally come as life-support to the 12 shop owners in the Chandmari Shibmandir area who lost everything on the fateful day.
Speaking to The Times of India, Haji Nahnane Khan who extended the financial help on Monday, April 2, 2018, said he did not want his fellow-traders to wait until government relief made its way.
“We have been doing business together for years in this area. I did my bit to help out my fellow traders. I believe people in other areas will also extend a helping hand to their neighbours,” Khan told TOI.
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Some of the beneficiaries of this selfless act were paan shop owner Uma Shankar Gupta, and shopkeepers Manoj Yadav and Niranjan Shaw.
Moved by Khan’s gesture, Niranjan Shaw said, “He had come to us as our shops stood vandalised. We didn’t have the money to start our business again. Khan told us not to lose heart. He offered us money and asked whether we were ready to accept it. We agreed.”
It isn’t just Khan who has become a beaming example of communal harmony. Just a few days ago, the Imam of the Noorani Masjid, Maulana Imdadul Rashidi appealed for peace, despite losing his 16-year-old son Sibtulla Rashidi to the violence. He even threatened to leave the mosque, as well as the town, if people took up arms to avenge his son’s death.
The 16-year-old boy was a Class 10 student. He went missing after the riots in Rail Par area of Asansol. His dead body was recovered the following night, suspected to have been beaten to death.
Speaking to the Indian Express, the Imam said, “I want peace. My boy has been taken away. I don’t want any more families to lose their loved ones. I don’t want any more houses to burn. I have already told the gathering that I will leave Asansol if there is any retaliation. I told them that if you love me, you will not raise a finger.”
Even in the face of threat and heart-wrenching communal riots, it is people like Haji Nahnane Khan and Maulana Imdadul Rashidi who shine and make us believe that humanity isn’t dead. We will rise above this just like we always do.
But we hope these stories of human rights violation grab the attention of those in power, to prevent a repeat of this episode. And at the same time, help bring relief to those who have been affected.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also demanded a detailed report on the matter from the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Director-General of Police, West Bengal. While giving them a deadline of three weeks to submit these reports, the NHRC also emphasised allegations from people in the riot-hit areas who said despite dialling the policy emergency line at 100, no police personnel came to their aid.
So a team deputed by the Director-General (Investigation) and headed by an officer, not below the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) will now visit the riot-hit areas of Asansol-Raniganj to investigate and collate this report.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Feature image in-set credit: Times of India