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Bengal Minorities Workers Allegedly Beaten And Assaulted as ‘Bangladeshis’ in Odisha

Bengal Minorities Workers Allegedly Beaten And Assaulted as 'Bangladeshis' in Odisha
Bengal Minorities Workers Allegedly Beaten And Assaulted as 'Bangladeshis' in Odisha

Workers from Bengal have allegedly been beaten up and harassed for being illegal immigrants in the neighboring state of Odisha. It is alleged that the workers from Bengal were assaulted for being ‘Bangladeshis’.

A group of laborers from Samserganj block in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district was physically assaulted in Odisha’s Bhadrak on Tuesday.

It is alleged that several BJP workers, including Sayan Parida, a local BJP leader from Bhadrak, surrounded the workers from Murshidabad. They were then labeled as ‘Bangladeshis’ and ‘infiltrators’, and were even beaten with sticks. The injured were identified as Md Saifuddin Momin, 45, Rakibuddin Momin, 42, and Manjarul Seikh, 30.

A worker said, “I have been working as a hawker in Odisha for a long time. I have never experienced such a situation before. We are all horrified by today’s events. They didn’t listen to us; they came and started beating us.”

More than 100 residents of Samserganj and Suti in Murshidabad district have been working as hawkers in Odisha’s Bhadrak for the last two decades. Many also work as laborers. They have been in Bhadrak for a long time. A few days ago, local BJP leaders and workers demanded proof of Indian citizenship from them. When they refused to show it, they were allegedly beaten up. BJP leaders and workers also labeled them as ‘Bangladeshis’.

Md Saifuddin Momin told The Observer Post, “At first, we were branded as ‘infiltrators’ and ‘Bangladeshis’. Then they wanted to see proof of Indian citizenship from us. We showed Voter cards, Aadhaar cards, Pan cards. But they didn’t accept them. They claimed our identity cards were fake.”

“We were asked to leave the area, or else we would be beaten again. They even threatened to kill us. On Wednesday we came home fearing for our lives,” Rakibuddin Seikh told The Observer Post.

The injured workers lodged a written complaint at Bhadrak Rural police station on Tuesday. Based on the complaint, the police arrested BJP leader Sayan Parida.

“Bhadrak SP Varun Guntapalli said, local police have been instructed to take strict measures. These actions will not be tolerated,” reported The Telegraph.

On the other hand, the Trinamool Congress has expressed concern over the attack on workers from Bengal. TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien has written a letter to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, urging him to take necessary action in the incident.

Derek wrote in his letter, “I am writing to you, deeply disturbed by reports found in several media outlets, about the physical assault of people from Bengal (Murshidabad) residing in Odisha’s Bhadrak. As you would be aware, close to a hundred people from Bengal’s Murshidabad district stay and earn a livelihood in Odisha’s Bhadrak. Recently, they were physically assaulted by local Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and forced to flee. They were beaten with a bat after they refused to show documents to ‘prove their Indian citizenship’.

A few days before this, they were illegally videotaped, and a video labeling them as ‘Bangladeshi informants’ was circulated on social media. The circulation of this video led to more targeted physical assaults by the BJP leaders and supporters.”

The Trinamool MP requested urgent attention to the matter and the apprehension of the culprits.

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