In a minority-dominated village in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, listening to music, playing carom, watching television and purchasing lottery are now activities which have been banned by a fatwa issued by the heads of the Adwaita Nagar village, which has a population of around 12,000 and is located along the Bengal-Jharkhand border area in Raghunathganj sub-division. The brazen diktat which has been issued also comes along with a range of penalties for those who are found flouting the fatwa. The ruling Trinamool Congress dominated panchayat chief, meanwhile, has no qualms with a minority-committee trampling upon the freedoms of people, and has instead stated that there is nothing wrong about the ‘welcome’ move.
The anti-democratic diktat was issued on August 9 under the banner of a ‘social reforms committee’, reported the New Indian Express. Posters listing the banned activities were put up in every corner of the villages warning the local people of severe consequences if they were found violating the fatwa. What is more shocking is the fact that the said committee has also provisioned a scheme of rewarding ‘informants’, who bring to notice the activities of such people who disobey the order. Depending on the nature of the offence, the informant will be rewarded anywhere between Rs. 200 to 1000.
“We decided to impose a ban on a series of activities to stop the young generation from adopting methods which will lead to their moral and cultural degradation. We cannot allow them to listen to music and watch movies and serials which do not fit our religious culture,” said Azharul Sheikh, the secretary of the Adwaita Nagar Social Reforms Committee.
The fatwa mandates a Rs 1,000 fine if anyone is found watching television and using mobile phones or computers for the purpose of listening to music. “If anyone is caught playing carom, he will have to pay Rs 500 and in case of purchasing lottery, the penalty amount will be Rs 2,000,” said Azharul. An exorbitant penalty of Rs. 7000 will be levied on those found selling alcohol, and they will also be made to do 10 sit-ups while holding their ears. The fatwa also stated that the offender’s head would he shaved before being paraded around the village.
The local Trinamool Congress-dominated Vasaipaikar panchayat chief, Abdur Rauf found nothing wrong in the fatwa. “Banning liquor is a good decision. Besides, I welcome the decision to ban carom and songs using mobile phones because the youths are getting addicted to it,” he stated. This goes on to show how the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, only to save its vote bank and not to alienate them, is allegedly lying prostrate before a joke of a ‘committee’, which is brazenly trampling upon the freedom of Indians, just around the time the country celebrated its 74th Independence Day.