ASLEHA GIRLS' COLLEGE, A MINORITY INSTITUTION, BURNING WHILE THE DONOR, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE SAID COLLEGE BEING CONFINED AND DETAINED INSIDE THE BUILDING
ASLEHA GIRLS' COLLEGE RANSACKED, FURNITURES, COMPUTERS, LIBRARY, ETC. DESTROYED AND CAR VANDALIZED
ATTACK ON ASLEHA GIRLS' COLLEGE BY THE FUNDAMENTALIST
MEDIA REPORTING ON INCIDENCE AT ASLEHA GIRLS' COLLEGE
Late Asleha Khatun, a direct student of Begum Rokaiya of Sakhawat Memorial School, was deprived of higher education due to fundamentalism but she dreamt of providing education to girls belonging to socio-economically backward, illiterate families, underprivileged and marginalized groups. To implement her thought, she transferred her properties in Mouza Bogtui & Kalisara (including a ‘mud ghar’ treated as private family mosque, built on one cottah (.02 acrc) of land in Dag No. 801, Mouza Bogtui, which was later converted to a brick-built one storied mosque by her) to her only son, Justice (Retd.) Nure Alam Chowdhury, a former Acting Chief Justice of High Court, Calcutta and also a Former Cabinet Minister of the Government of West Bengal, with an instruction to establish girls’ colleges for providing education at minimum cost. To fulfill the dream of his mother, Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury duly constructed 2 three-storied buildings completed and 2 two-storied buildings (3rd storey not yet completed) in the said property and thus established “Asleha Girls’ College” in 2009 after obtaining ‘No Objection’ and “approval” from the Government of West Bengal with much difficulties and requisite affiliation from the University of Burdwan, with an initial admission fee of Re. 1/- (one) only. Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury is the Donor, Founder and President of Asleha Girls’ College and also many other Schools and colleges. The said College was functioning smoothly and the students were performing very well by often securing the top positions in the University examinations. In the said campus, another two educational institutions, namely “IGNOU Study Centre, New Delhi” and “Asleha Computer Centre” were also operational while a B.Ed. college was under construction by the same charitable Trust management.
Unfortunately, from the very beginning, few fundamentalists with extremists in support of the political parties, land grabbers, miscreants and anti-socials always desired for control and / or closure of Asleha Girls’ College on the plea that education of girls is barred by religious tenets. In order to meet their target, these politicians, anti-socials, extremists and fundamentalists used to threaten the students, guardians and employees of the college so that they do not enter the college premises. Forcibly, they used to enter into the ladies’ toilets, use the computer and other instruments of the college and hold anti-India meeting inside the college at late night. These politicians, anti-socials, extremists and fundamentalists, on the plea of offering Namaaz used to enter the college premises, pass obscene remarks and gestures, make sexual assaults, etc. to the girl students and female teachers and employees. Some of these miscreants used to even enter the said mosque in drunken condition and hold anti-Indian meetings, inside the mosque as a part of conspiracy to close the colleges and grab the entire property including the college buildings and mosque after the introduction of “IMAM & MUEZZIN” 'bhata' (allowance) without the consent of the recorded owner of the mosque.
As prevention, the girl students of Asleha Girls’ College wanted to put up a brave fight and they circulated a leaflet in Bengali calling upon the guardians, students and others for holding a protest meeting on 3rd September, 2013 at 10.00 a.m. at the college premises, against these politicians, miscreants, anti-socials and those conspirators. In order to frustrate the said meeting, in which girl-students of nine other neighboring colleges of the district of Birbhum wanted to participate, another highly defamatory leaflet in Bengali was circulated, by the fundamentalists with extremists in support of the political parties, land grabbers, miscreants and anti-socials, against Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury, as a motivated and preplanned strategy for causing permanent shut down of the Asleha Girls’ College and also grab the entire properties on which stood the college with its sister educational institutions “Study Centre of IGNOU New Delhi”, “Asleha Computer Centre”, the proposed building for B.Ed College (under construction), the said private mosque and the huts as residence of the security personnel of the college.
Justice (Retd.) Nure Alam Chowdhury is a devout Muslim and has performed Haj with his wife Dr. Mamtaz Sanghamita. Dr. Mamtaz Sanghamita has also served the devouted Muslims earlier during the pilgrimage at “Jeddah”, as a doctor. They religiously follow all the dictates of Islam with utmost devotion. The said mosque situated inside the college campus was built by his maternal grandfather and mother. There cannot be any conceivable reason for such a man to destroy the said mosque knowing it fully well that a “masjid” is the abode of the Great Almighty Allah. In fact, Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury dedicated the said mosque for performance of namaaz by the females attached to the college, in terms of his mother’s wishes. He had constructed and renovated more than two dozen of mosques in the district of Birbhum, Murshidabad and Burdwan and has also constructed several schools and colleges in various places. Being a secular character, Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury had also renovated and constructed various temples in several places.
Sooner the President entered the college premises in midday on 1st September, 2013, Asleha Girls’ College, a minority self-financed private college, first of its kind in West Bengal, affiliated to the University of Burdwan, an institution for the undergraduate studies of girls, belonging to poor illiterate Muslim, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, OBC and physically challenged families, it was completely destroyed, looted and burnt, along with “Study Centre of IGNOU, New Delhi” and “Asleha Computer Centre” in presence of the top officials of the Administration of the District Birbhum namely the D.M., A.D.M., S.P Birbhum, S.D.O., S.D.P.O. and O/C Rampurhat and three O/Cs of the neighboring police stations namely Nalhati, Margarm and Mayureswar with their sub - ordinates and forces, who were collectively standing as mute spectators with RAF, for the reasons best known to them, ignoring and disregarding their statutory official duties. A collective criminal conspiracy amongst the protagonists of Islamic fundamentalism, Jammait-A-Ulema Hind, who believe educating Muslim girls is against Islam, the Ruling Political Party in West Bengal, the District office at Suri and Bolpur and the local office at Rampurhat within 200 yards of the college complex, local police and the high police officers of the district, forcible land-grabbers, occupiers, and even the local municipality Panchayet etc. were the main force behind this most uncivilized, unimaginable and horrible destruction of Asleha Girls’ College, “Study Centre of IGNOU, New Delhi” , “Asleha Computer Centre” and the “Girls’ Hostel” (under construction) with minority scheme and detaining the Donor, Founder, President in a room.
By spreading false rumours, propaganda and distributing defamatory leaflets stating that Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury, Founder of Asleha Girls’ College and also a Hon’ble cabinet Minister of the Govt. of West Bengal at that relevant time, would destroy the mosque, which stands near the main college building, and taking advantage of the religious sentiments of the illiterate and poor masses, the said conspirators were successful in looting, burning and shutting down the Asleha Girls’ College with loss worth several crores of rupees . Hundreds of people at the time of noon on 01-09-2013 armed with lathis, iron rods, crowbar, bombs, etc. started to destroy the college buildings; looting books, computers, laboratory equipments, the wooden doors, windows, tools, desks, almirahs, etc.; burning vehicles, furniture, library, all relevant official records of the students, teachers, staff, etc., stealing cash from the iron-safe kept in the cash-room for the payment of remuneration of the teachers and employees, construction of girls’ hostel, B.Ed. College and meeting other necessary expenses for development of the college. A crane was used for breaking and removing the main entrance Strong Iron Gate with other Gates of different Buildings of the said College. Personnel of the pilot car, PSO and EA, who were with Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury, were brutally assaulted. The Minister himself a Former Acting Chief Justice , Calcutta High Court was not spared from assault and attempts were made for killing him and burnt alive. He, being a 73 years old Blood pressure and heart patient was confined and detained with fearful and threatening surroundings for more than 8 hours without food, water and medicine. The National Highway and all approach roads to the College were blocked and fire brigade and ambulance were also prevented from entering at the time when continuous looting, ransacking and setting the college properties and Building on fire were going on in presence of police force and Administration allowing the Muslims to fight against Muslims with carefully well planned conspiracy, while the real conspirators remained in ambush at Rampurhat, Bolpur, Suri and Kolkata to avoid any focus of the colour of communalism behind the occurence.
The top officials of the Administration of the Sub- division and District Birbhum appearing active initially turned into mere spectators of all those incidents shortly and did not provide any resistance and prevention, for the reasons best known to them. Minister’s personal and college car was set ablaze and dumped in the pond inside the College Compound. Attempts were made in the evening to obtain Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury’s signature on stamp papers for transferring his entire property including the said college and the said mosque to an unknown entity, “Masjid Committee” and also on a pre-written letter of his resignation from the post of a cabinet Minister of the Govt. of West Bengal through the S.D.O. Rampurhat A.D.M. Birbhum along with others , with a threat of loss of his life in case of refusal to oblige them. All those incidents happened amidst outcry and slogans in high pitch (Nara-E-Taqbir, Allahu Akbar, Bandemataram, Inquilab Zindabad) with the demand of handing over Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury to the mob, for executing the evil desires of divesting Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury of his aforesaid properties and the Ministry and of killing him as expressed from loud utterances of some persons claiming to be leaders of the Ruling and other Political Party also claiming that they received order from Higher Authorities for what to do and declaring their presence among the mob with minors and rustic women at the vanguard. Building materials stocked of several lakh of Rupees for the completion of the incomplete Girls’ Hostel with aid of minority Department and College, were also looted. In spite of the police guards in college premises and the property, looting continued for four consecutive subsequent days, with full knowledge of the concerned Administration. Unfortunately, the elected representatives of the Parliament, State Assembly, Municipality and Panchayat, all belonging to the Ruling Political Party, being well versed with the incidents though some of their residences and offices are within 200-500 yards away from the place of occurence have not yet come forward to help and undo the wrongs and support a cause for the upliftment of women and education and re-opening of the said minority institution.
Three F.I.R.s related to the said incident with names of some of the accused were lodged and like the fate of other earlier F.I.R.s no investigation appears to have commenced thereto till now. Injunction and Orders of the Civil Court has been violated, Order u/s 144 of Cr. P.C. and Order of the Barshal Gram Panchayat were also violated without any respect to laws and Court order by the land grabbers and fundamentalists who have encroached upon the land and made illegal and unauthorized construction therein with Building material of the college. These miscreants have been given shelter by high level politicians, political parties, fundamentalists, extremists, government officials and antisocial groups who are also involved in this heinous crime.
Declaration of “Imam and Muezzin bhata” lured and prompted the politicians, fundamentalists and extremists to jump upon the Masjid, college with its Buildings and lands belonging to others and grab it. The well planned and false propaganda for the demolition of the mosque is totally belied from the very fact that no damage in any manner to the originally recorded Masjid can be seen or even discovered till now and on the contrary the Masjid on the land of one cottah belonging to private individual has been expanded forcibly and illegally as above to cover about 3 cottahs of college land in violation of the specific dictates of Islam that no Namaj can be performed in a Masjid forcibly occupied and extended constructed on forcibly occupied land and thus the propaganda over loud speaker that “Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury had come to demolish the Masjid” was only cleverly planned ploy for destruction of all the buildings of Asleha Girls’ College complex by tickling the sensitive religious fanatism of the poor illiterate Muslims, ignorant of the dictates of Islam.
It has been prayed in writing to all the concerned authorities including university and Government for the restoration, continuance and reopening of Asleha Girls’ College, Rampurhat with all facilities available earlier along with the safety and security of the students, teachers and staff from fundamentalists, selfish politicians etc., expeditious trial and punishment of the offenders mentioned in the F.I.R.s along with others and use of the mosque for exclusive use of females attached to the Asleha Girls’ College campus but there has been no response to the said prayers.
It is most unfortunate that discrimination of Muslim girls is apparent from the facts that there has been wide-spread media coverage in respect of damage caused to ‘Christ Church School’ (a Christian Organization) and ‘Belur Ramkrishna Mission Technical College’ (a Hindu Organization) but no media coverage, investigation or action was taken by the administration for the vandalism and looting of Asleha Girls College, a minority teaching institution, for five days. There has been no call from any quarter for restroration and declaration of compensation for damages to properties, person and reputation worth about rupees thirty crores.
It has been prayed in writing to all the concerned authorities including university and Government for the restoration, continuance and reopening of Asleha Girls’ College, Rampurhat with all facilities available earlier along with the safety and security of the students, teachers and staff from fundamentalists, selfish politicians etc., expeditious trial and punishment of the offenders mentioned in the F.I.R.s along with other and use of the mosque for exclusive use of females attached to the Asleha Girls’ College campus but there has been no response to the said prayers.
Presently the college buildings stand deserted and empty with the walls only standing bare like naked skeleton. The concealed electrical wiring and other stuff from inside the buildings have been stolen and the looting of the remaining articles have been still continuing in presence of the police and other security personnel posted therein and the entire college complex is under the control of the fundamentalists, land grabbers and anti-socials elements and they are not allowing anybody to enter into the said college complex. In fact, they have also burnt the forms and official records of the college, students and the University of Burdwan. The Police and Administration of the Government of West Bengal appears to have surrendered before the wrongdoers. Attempts are on for illegal transfer of title and ownership of the property, with the assistance of a few government officials. Once a beautiful and reputed minority institution has now become a field for cattle grazing, a heaven for drug peddlers and a joint for prostitution and squatters.
As there are no chair, table, desk, tools, books, blackborads or anything to continue classes in the empty skeleton buildings of the Asleha Girls’ College, it is not possible to continue any classes there but all are grateful to the Management of the college for arranging classes temporarily at Nalhati, so that the education is not hampered in any manner. IGNOU Study Centre and Asleha Computer Centre have also been temporarily shifted to Nalhati ,Birbhum. In fact, the miscreants under the guidance of some high level politicians, political parties, fundamentalists, extremists, government officials and antisocial groups also made an attempt on 2nd September, 2013 to destroy and illegally takeover the Sofia Girls’ College, Nalhati, Birbhum a sister concern as well. But due to brave effort and resistance from the OC of Nalhati Police Station, at that point of time, the said attempt of the miscreants did not materialize and a belated F.I.R was lodged at the Nalhati P.S. The wrongdoers are still trying their best to repeat the act of destruction and illegally takeover Sofia Girls’ College. The failure and non-function as well as achieve support of the Administration of the Government of West Bengal has given and is giving immense power to the wrongdoers in fulfilling all their unlawful and criminal acts.
Even though all the aforesaid incidents happened in presence of the S.D.O, Rampurhat and other abovementioned officials and knowing it fully well that almost all the articles have been looted away or destroyed by fire and there is nothing left in the empty buildings of the college, the S.D.O. sent a surprising Memo containing unauthorized and illegal order in the garb of a purported resolution, without any notice to the Secretary or authority of the College, referring to a “Masjid Committee” unknown to any legally authorized Government records and thereby transferring the right, title, interest and possession of the private Minority property of the college and mosque including the main Gate of entrance and exit to the complex to such committee, with malafide intention and ulterior motive. It is very much evident that the miscreants in aids with some politicians, political parties, land grabbers, fundamentalists, extremists and government officials were toying around with law and order, as per their own whims and fancies, to meet all their unlawful ends ignoring their statutory official duties. It is significant that the Sub-divisional officer, Rampurhat purportedly sent a late illegal ,insubordinate and unauthorised notice to justice (Retd.) Chowdhury, also then a cabinet Minister, to appear before him, a much junior officer without any authority and he acted like a judicial officer in passing unauthorized and illegal order and also like a police officer in participating with the OC in dictating a resolution violating Civil Court order and thus playing a dubious and arbitrary role in the matter of occurrence on 01.09.2013 including some Teaching Staff and employees of the college also as members of the purported Masjid committee without the knowledge and consent of the said employer.
It may be worth mentioning here that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and the Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal in their appeal to the people clearly stated that spreading of education of women and empowerment of women are their main object and thus Government have started to implement and encourage higher education, vocational training, advancing honour as “Beti Bachao”, “Beti Parao” in whole India and providing financial aid to make each girl in each family “KANYASREE” and to uplift them and thereby set West Bengal an example for the rest of our country. The entire incident was informed to the Hon’ble Chief Minister on several occasions. But unfortunately, the Hon’ble Chief Minister instructed Justice (Retd.) Chowdhury, the Donor, Founder and President of Asleha Girls’ College, not to proceed with the matter without any information to her and thus no relief or effort has been made, till date, for reopening the said minority institution and to help the 'kanyas' to fulfill their dreams.
It is specifically stated that immediately after the occurrence on 1.09.2013 the authorities of Asleha Girls’ College informed the details of the incidents beside His excellency The President of India and the Hon’ble Chief Minister West Bengal, all the executives of the administration, the Vice – Chancellor , Registrar , Deputy Registrar Controller of Examination Inspector in-charge of the University of Burdwan and Secretary , Director of the Higher Secondary council and the Hon’ble Minister -in- Charge, department of education but no reply has been received from anybody or any quarter and no remedy of compensation for the damage or restoration there of has been received from anybody till now as well as no action has been taken in respect of the information both oral and written.
The fate of about 1000 students (approx. 70% being Muslim girls), teachers, staff and future students became uncertain and doomed by this attack of the fundamentalists in connivance with the present Ruling Political Party in West Bengal, evil designed contested and defeated politicians, land grabbers, forcible encroachers and occupiers of land besides the members of the Jammait-A-Ulema Hind, Fundamentalists, antisocials, miscreants and mischief-mongers. It is heartening to notice however that the aforesaid happenings have not daunted the spirit and courage of girl students to continue their learning and higher education and their earnest endeavor to uplift the conditions of women with full faith and conviction that there shall be resurrection of their idea from the ruins of Asleha Girls’ College which will echo beyond the limits of states, territories, countries, nations and establish all women to their rightful deserving status and position in society. The idea is inspired from the words of Swami Vivekananda “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”.
Thus, this is an extremely painful and heart-breaking appeal to the concerned authorities for taking immediate steps against the squatters and re-opening the Asleha Girls’ College, providing safety, security and protection to the girls, faculties and staff, re-installing the main gate along with other gates of the college, with damaged Boundary wall which was removed by using crane, allowing the females attached to the said college to offer Namaaz, in the private mosque inside the college premises, and punishing the abovementioned wrongdoers and miscreants for causing destruction and illegal takeover of the said college and properties due to the failure of the administration of the Government of West Bengal. The management and girls of the Asleha Girls’ College, a affiliated minority self-financed private college, with zeal and thirst of acquiring knowledge are still waiting for re-opening of the said institution at the same earlier place at Rampurhat with the prayer and help of Students, Guardians, Educationists well wishers, Government and everybody.
Margram More, Rampurhat, Birbhum, West Bengal, India Pin- 731224