Hindus & Muslims Give Distinct Narratives of the Asansol Violence

Hindus & Muslims Give Distinct Narratives of the Asansol Violence

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The Quint travelled to the Chandmari and Gulzar Muhalla areas in the outskirts of Asansol, about 300kms from Kolkata which saw clashes between the Hindu and Muslim community on 28 March 2018.

The clashes reportedly occurred when a process celebrating the Hindu festival of Ram Navami was passing through a Hindu area.

At least one person is reported to have died in these clashes, taking the Ram Navami death toll in the state to 3.

We spoke to members of both communities and each had their own version of the events that led to that fateful day.

‘We Don't Want to Talk to You Guys. We Will be Persecuted’

Many of the tiny apartments in the three-storey ghettoised houses of Chandmari – a predominantly Hindu area – lay vacant when The Quint visited the ground. Outside one of the many small mandirs in the area, under a banyan tree, an old man told us that he was present at the spot when clashes broke out.

There was a Ram Navami procession passing by here. When it went a little ahead, the Muslims threw stones at us and fired shots. We retaliated to save our honour and our houses.

A group of young Hindu boys, who had gathered in one of the deserted allies of Chandmari said that they didn't want to talk to us when they learnt that we're from the media.

We don’t want to talk to the media. We are scared for our lives. The police and Muslims will hunt us down and put us in jail. They’ve picked up so many of our boys already.
A Hindu youngster in Chandmari.

‘They Said The Azaan Didn't matter’

The Muslim colony in Gulzar Muhalla, a little ahead of Chandmari, said they were attacked first and also abused and provoked.

They asked us to take our caps off and say Jai Shri Ram.
A witness from the Muslim community in Gulzar Muhalla.

A group of Muslim ladies also alleged that the Ram Navami procession was purposely disrupting azaan and creating a ruckus during Namaz.

We asked them to pass peacefully, but they said the azaan didn’t matter. They had stones in their cars which they threw at us. We also responded in kind because Muslims are not weak.
A Muslim lady witness in Gulzar Muhalla.

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