Bengal villagers mistake digital literacy trainer as official for NRC, ransack her house
People thought the woman was working for NRC after she took photos of some of the trainees and also asked for some documents as part of the digital literacy programme.Updated: Jan 23, 2020 06:05 IST
The residence of a digital literacy trainer was vandalised in Bengal’s Birbhum district on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday morning by local people who thought she was working for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) programme of the Centre, police said.
The incident took place at Gorabazar village in the Mallarpur police station area. A large police contingent went to the spot on Wednesday to rescue the family, which included the 21-year-old trainer Chumki Khatun and her parents.
Khatun works for Internet Saathi, a digital literacy programme launched in 2015 by the Tata Trust in collaboration with Google.
“Khatun, who was training local women on using smartphones for various services took photos of some of the trainees and also asked for some documents. This was part of the digital literacy programme but people thought she was working for NRC.
“When confronted by a large number of villagers, the young woman failed to explain her work in a convincing manner, following which her house came under attack,” said Gorachand Barman, community block development officer of Mayureshwar, who visited the spot to speak to local people.
Barman added that the situation was under control and Khatun and her parents were safe.
“We have assured residents that no work even faintly related to NRC is being carried out in the state and that they have no reason to panic,” Barman said on Wednesday evening.
BJP leaders blamed chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the incident. “The chief minister is spreading panic. She will be responsible if such untoward incidents keep happening,” said BJP’s Birbhum district unit vice president Dilip Ghosh.
Local Trinamool Congress legislator Abhijit Roy said the trouble spread from rumours and that the administration had brought the situation under control. “The police have detained some of those who led the vandalism and also some attached to the NGO for which Khatun works. They are being questioned. No one has any reason to panic. The administration is on the alert,” Roy said.
When contacted over phone, Mallarpur police station’s officer-in-charge Brikodar Sanyal and Rampurhat’s sub-divisional police officer Sowmajit Barua said they were busy and would be able to comment on the matter later.