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After Clashes, Basirhat Courts Controversy for 'Intellectual Meet for Peace'

Organised by All India Sunnat Al Jamayat, the National Intellectual Meet in Basirhat will see the participation of scholars from across the world, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Sujit Nath |

Updated:July 19, 2017, 9:28 PM IST
After Clashes, Basirhat Courts Controversy for 'Intellectual Meet for Peace'
A vegetable vendor sells vegetable on the roadside in Basirhat, the village in Bengal North 24-Parganas district. (Picture Courtesy: CNN-News18)
Kolkata: Days after it witnessed violent clashes, the sleepy hamlet of Basirhat in Bengal North 24-Parganas district, is once again in news, this time for a National Intellectual Meet.

Organised by All India Sunnat Al Jamayat, the event will see the participation of scholars from across the world, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The event - scheduled for July 22-24 in Jamia Nagar near Gopalpur More - courted a controversy after a section of people questioned why Basirhat, which was communally tensed a few days ago, was chosen as a place for such an event.

The people have also raised questions over the participation of Simsarul Haq Hudavi from Abu Dhabi and Abdul Rauf Hudavi from Qatar. "What interest do they have in such a meeting and that too in such a remote village of Bengal," a person asked.

Though organisers dispelled people's apprehensions, calling it an attempt to spread peace, the right-wing organisations are not convinced.

“It is an event to refresh our thoughts and knowledge. Recently, Basirhat witnessed communal tension and our effort is to spread the message of communal harmony,” Tarikul Islam, one of the organisers, told News18.

Islam also made it clear that the three-day event will only focus on peace and development in the area. "Our focus will be to address how we can provide quality education to students in villages. We have invited Muslim scholars from Kerala and we are adopting the Kerala model of education for students in Bengal.”

When asked to describe the Kerala model of education, Islam said: "Literacy level in Kerala is high and therefore, we have decided to inculcate the same model of education in some of the villages in Bengal. Initially, we have decided to educate students in 50 such villages in North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas and Howrah."

“There is nothing controversial about it and those who are invited from Abu Dhabi and Qatar are originally from Kerala, but they are based in these countries. They will spread the message of love among people,” he said.

Jishnu Basu, the RSS general secretary in South Bengal, said, “We suspect the objective of the event. There is no need for such an event in Basirhat."

“When the state government is restricting leaders from entering Basirhat, why are they allowing such an event in the disturbed area. This could lead to another flare up. The government should be more sensitive in this matter.”

Shankar Majhi, a local resident at Mayerbazar in Bashirhat, said, “This is a local issue and the matter was resolved locally. Now people are living peacefully in the area. We don’t understand why the state government was entertaining such groups to organise the event.”

Basirhat and Baduria witnessed violent clashes over an "objectionable" Facebook Post by a student. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, then, ordered a judicial inquiry and warned people against indulging in communal disharmony.
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| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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