Police case registered over call for social boycott of BJP supporters in Assam
Unnamed people in Cachar district booked for seeking a social boycott of two men for defying their calls against working for the BJP during repolling in the Sonai assembly constituency on April 20
The Assam police have booked unnamed people in Cachar district for seeking a social boycott of two men for defying their calls against working for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during repolling in the Sonai assembly constituency on April 20.
The repolling was ordered after a firing incident at Dhonehari polling station in Sonai following a brawl between BJP candidate Aminul Haque Laskar and supporters of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
Dhonehori residents accused the BJP candidate of firing at the station on April 1. They later held a meeting and warned of punishment if anyone worked for the BJP during the repolling. Rajonmoni Laskar and Nazmul Haque Choudhury, the two men who face the social boycott, were Aminul Haque Laskar’s polling agents and defied the warning. The two have been accused of “anti-social activities”, fined ₹5 lakh and ₹2 lakh and barred from praying at mosques in the eight nearby neighbourhoods.
They lodged a police complaint after vegetable vendors, fishermen and groceries boycotted them.
In his police complaint, Rajonmoni Laskar, blamed AIUDF activists for the social boycott. “AIUDF cadres and supporters are forming unlawful assembly. They recently forcibly entered my house with a copy of the decisions taken in their meeting without hearing us. They demand payment of ₹5 lakh as compensation. They also threatened my family members. If we do not pay the amount, they will burn us alive.”
Akbar Ali, the Sonai police station in charge, said they have registered a case under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 448 (house-trespass), 384 (extortion), 427 (mischief), 506 (criminal intimidation). “The matter is under investigation, and we will take action against each individual if found guilty.”
Aminul Haque Laskar condemned the intimidation. “India is a democratic country governed by the Constitution. Calling election an anti-social activity is insulting the Constitution, which in itself is a crime. I have spoken to the deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli and police superintendent Bhanwar Lal Meena about this. We cannot allow Khap-style fatwa in today’s world.”
Muslim clerics said the call for social boycott cannot be called a fatwa, which is a nonbinding opinion issued on a point of Islamic law. Only a Mufti, or a trained Muslim jurist, can issue a fatwa. “In the case of Dhonehori, it was not issued by a Mufti but by few local residents. It cannot be called a fatwa,” said Maulana Najir Hussain, a local cleric.
Karimuddin Barbhuiyan, the AIUDF candidate from Sonai, refused to comment.