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Journo attack: Teenager whose post led to Basirhat riots, Hindu Samhati chief denied bail

The 17-year-old boy, out on bail after his alleged Facebook post triggered days of communal unrest in West Bengal’s Basirhat last year, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly attacking journalists.

kolkata Updated: Feb 17, 2018 18:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Hindu Samhati,Basirhat Riots,Tapan Ghosh
Tapan Ghosh had been a critic of Mamata Banerjee but has softened his stand since 2014. (HT File Photo)

A Kolkata court on Saturday rejected the bail plea of Hindu Samhati chief Tapan Ghosh, the teenager whose social media post led to the Basirhat riots and two others while hearing the case relating to attack on journalists by Samhati activists on Wednesday. The four were remanded in judicial custody till February 22.

The 17-year-old boy, out on bail after his alleged Facebook post triggered days of communal unrest in West Bengal’s Basirhat last year, was arrested along with Ghosh on Wednesday.

The chief of Hindu Samhati, a hardliner Hindu outfit in West Bengal, and the others allegedly attacked journalists at an event held in the heart of Kolkata to mark the organisation’s 10th foundation day.

Read: Hindu Samhati chief Tapan Ghosh, three others arrested for attacking journalists in Kolkata

Reporters and camera persons of various media houses were allegedly beaten up when they tried to talk to members of a Muslim family that, the Samhati claimed, had converted to Hinduism on that day.

Ghosh, also the founder of Hindu Samhati, was present on stage when the scuffle took place. He was later interrogated and arrested. He and the others were booked for attempt to murder, causing grievous hurt and other charges.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the attack and said strict action would be taken against the offenders.

Read: Minors behind FB posts that triggered communal clashes in Bengal granted bail, now in Hindutva outfit’s custody

“Media is one of the pillars of democracy. They should not be attacked like this. An organisation can have its own philosophy. If they do not like the media’s point of view, they can ignore it but such attacks must be condemned,” said Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh.

Police said they would look into the reports of religious conversion at the event.

Read: Hindu outfits perform ‘shastra’ puja across West Bengal on Bijoya Dashami

Formed in 2008, the Hindu Samhati website describes itself as an NGO that is “the icon of hope to Hindus in West Bengal” and says it regularly monitors and reports violence against Hindus in the state.

Last year, a 65-year-old man was killed as communal violence swept Basirhat in the North 24 Parganas district bordering Bangladesh after Muslim mobs went on a rampage, angered by a controversial Facebook post by the Hindu boy whose bail plea was rejected on Saturday.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 18:49 IST