Communal tensions flare up in West Bengal’s Malda following death of Muslim man accused of bike theft

Communal tensions has once again flared up in West Bengal’s sensitive Malda District. The tensions, as per reports, escalated after death of a Muslim man who was beaten by a mob over suspicion of bike theft.

Sheikh, 24, was brought to his hometown, Baishnabhnagar, in malda, on Sunday. Sources said Sheikh, who had suffered injuries in his private parts, eyes and ears, died in Kolkata after his condition deteriorated. He was referred to Kolkata’s SSKM Hospital by doctors at Malda Medical College and Hospital.

Protests began on Sunday when the video of Sheikh getting beaten up went viral on social media. Sources in the police said protesters blocked National Highway 34 and ransacked shops and other establishments in Kaliachak.

Public and private properties were vandalised by violent protesters. It was learnt that a government bus was also vandalised, and that the police had to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

Congress leader and Sujapur MLA Isha Khan Choudhury, who met Sheikh’s family, called for peace and demanded arrest of the accused.
Choudhury said: “The family members and residents wanted to take the body to Baishnabnagar police station to protest. I convinced them to perform the last rights and stop the protest. We demand arrest of people who killed Sheikh. I also asked the police to probe whether it was a communal incident.”

After he left Kaliachak, Choudhury said, “I heard there were some problems. Whoever takes law into their hands — from whichever community — should be punished. I appeal to all parties, including the BJP, to maintain peace. I have seen communal riots in Malda…prople from both communities suffer in such violence,”