Muezzin Asked to Chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’, Then Assaulted in West Bengal Village

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Mohammed Sufiuddin. — Photo courtesy: Telegraph

Police began probe after Sufiuddin filed complaint against unnamed attackers

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — A muezzin (prayer caller) was allegedly assaulted by unidentified men for refusing to shout ‘Jai Shree Ram’ on Wednesday morning in Chinsurah village of Hooghly district of West Bengal.

According to The Telegraph, 54 year-old-Mohammed Sufiuddin, who lives in Chakbazar was waylaid by three motorcycle-borne youth in Chinsurah, when he was cycling to a mosque early morning. They asked him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, a Hindu chant that Hindutva men use as a war cry while committing violent acts.

“I told them about my religious identity and requested them not to force me to chant the slogan. At this, one of the youths slapped me hard and I fell down with my cycle. As I cried in pain, the youths escaped from the scene. There was no one around as it was too early in the morning,” The Telegraph quoted Sufiuddin as recounting.

Sufiuddin, who is a regular muezzin at the village mosque, later filed a complaint at Chinsurah police station against the unnamed attackers.

“We have received the complaint and started a probe,” Gaurav Sharma, the police commissioner of Chandernagore, told The Telegraph.

“They only slapped me once but I lodged a complaint with the police to teach them a lesson. If the police take steps, they will not dare to do such things in future. It is not the culture of our area where I have been living since my childhood,” said Sufiuddin.

Gautam Chatterjee, the district chief of BJP, assured that if their party men are found involved in harassing the muezzin, he would ensure that the police take action against them.

Sufiuddin said that this was not the first instance of harassment. After BJP won 18 seats in 2019 elections, he said a youth who was part of the Hindutva group tried to force him to shout Jai Shri Ram. “But before I could reply to the youth, one of his friends rebuked him and asked him not to force me,” he said.

The latest attack on Suffiuddin comes as the bitterly communalized Assembly polls are underway in West Bengal. BJP has been claiming that they have greater chances of winning a good number of seats around this time.

Reacting to the attack on Sufiuddin, members of Ruling Trinamool Congress accused BJP of trying to disturb communal harmony in Chinsurah.

“The attack on Sufiuddin shows BJP’s attempt to damage our culture and harmony. We strongly condemn the incident,” said Tapan Dasgupta, a Trinamul leader and state agriculture marketing minister.

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