Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NIA arrests 16 Muslims in Bengal Ram Navami violence case; BJP leaders hail central agency

One year after violence during Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested 16 Muslims, accused of ‘conspiring and carrying out a communal attack’ during a Ram Navami procession in the Dalkhola area of West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district in March last year.

In a press statement, the NIA on Monday said the arrests were made on the basis of revelations made during its investigation and the identification of the accused from video footages of the violence that took place on March 30, 2023.

“The accused were among the perpetrators of the attack on members of a particular community participating in the procession,” the agency said.

The NIA also termed the arrests as a “major breakthrough.”

The agency has identified the arrested accused as Afroj Alam, Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Imtiaz Alam, Irfan Alam, Kaiser, Mohammad Farid Alam, Mohammad Furkan Alam, Mohammad Pappu, Mohammad Suleman, Mohammad Sarjan, Mohammad Nurul Hoda alias “Nanua”, Wasim Arya, Mohammad Salahuddin, Mohammad Jannath Alam, Wasim Akram alias “Vicky”, and Mohammad Tanweer Alam – all residents of Dalkhola.

The Calcutta High Court had on April 27, 2023, ordered the transfer of cases related to voilence to the NIA which took up investigation of six such cases.

Anti-Muslim violence were reported in at least eight states in India in 2023 March as Hindutva outfits carried out rallies to celebrate Ram Navami. A pattern was formed as sequences of events across India looked similar, on the same evening.

The central agency and state police departments faced accusations of not taking action against Hindutva groups and organizations. Instead, they were criticised for framing Muslims, the victims of hate, in cases related to Ram Navami.

BJP leaders praised the NIA on social media for arresting Muslim men in the case of violence, which involved complicity from various Hindu right-wing groups.

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