Kolkata: The Karwan-e-Mohabbat, a civil society initiative of solidarity and conscience in response to rising hate violence, visited the victims of Asansol riot in Bengal on April 8.
“It is the dominant who have the power and knowledge and the look at the weak as the means to perpetuate violence,” said Jesuit Father Arjen Tete, professor of theology from De Nobili College, Pune.
To speak of the collective silence, the Karwan–e-Mohabbat was crafted as a journey of atonement, solidarity, conscience, and justice. Since September 2017 it has visited eight States.
It journeys in solidarity with victims of hate crimes in India.
The shocking lynching of a 16-year old son (Md. Sibghatullah) of Imam Mohammed Imdadullah in Asansol in West Bengal is a point in a case. Asansol is around 200 km from Kolkata.
Md. Sibghatullah just finished his Grade 10 exams and was lynched on Wednesday went to nearby Mosque, some 500 meters South of the Noorani Mosque where his father is Imam.
The Riot was instigated with the Ram Navami celebration recorded songs which said, “Topiwale bhi sar jhukake Jai Sri Ram bolega” (Men in caps will soon lower head to say Jai Sri Ram).
The body of the boy was found on Wednesday late night after brutally tortured by the violent mob.
From different walks life, people praised the Imam who preached peace at the funeral of his son.
On April 8, Karwan consisted of many Human Right activists and concerned citizens from different parts of the country.
John Dayal, one of the members of the Karwan from Delhi, said that he was ‘happy to meet the Imam who preached peace’ even when he lost his young son and contained the violence.’
Harsh Mander who is considered to be the man behind the Karwan said, “We are very timely to sympathize with the victims.
There were initiatives by both the communities to help the victims in their locality.
The Karwan visited besides the Imam, the victims of riot who lost the houses and valuables in the houses and shops in the locality, Rail Para which is also called Islam ‘para’ and Rama Krishna Para.
Some 10 houses were razed to the ground on the day of the riot but interesting initiatives were the decision of the local temple trustee to put up the ‘Muslim Darga’ in the Hindu vicinity and one Khan donated Rs.10000/- each to the burned down houses who are Hindus.
The locals suspect that the politicians have created the problem while the ordinary gullible people are the victims.
There were some 20 human rights activists present and embraced the Imam and other victims who lost their properties.
Udayani (awakening), the social outreach arm of the Calcutta province of the Society of Jesus, has been part of the Karwan in West Bengal both in the month of January and now and will remain in the future too.
By Irudya Jothi SJ