Derek O’Brien Writes To CM Naveen Patnaik Over Assault Of Bengal Natives In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien has expressed deep concern over the alleged harassment and physical assault of  people from Bengal (Murshidabad) in Odisha’s Bhadrak.

In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the TMC leader has urged him to “take cognizance of the matter and bring culprits to the book”.

According to reports, over 100 residents of Samserganj in Murshidabad left the town, abandoning all their belongings, following an alleged assault on them by some BJP supporters with a cricket bat on Tuesday evening. These people had been living and selling their wares in Bhadrak district for the past two decades. The alleged attack occurred when they refused to show documents to “prove their Indian citizenship”. A local BJP leader Sayan Parida has been arrested in connection with the attacks on the vendors from Murshidabad. “Local police have been asked to take strict measures. These things will not be tolerated,” Bhadrak SP Varun Guntapalli told the media.

Quoting media reports, Derek O’Brien mentioned about people from Bengal’s Murshidabad earning a living in Odisha and how they were forced to flee following the alleged physical assault. “They were beaten up with a bat after they refused to show documents to “prove their Indian citizenship”. A few days before this, they were videographed illegally and a video labelling them as “Bangladeshi informants” was circulated on social media. Circulation of this video led to more targeted physical assault by the BJP leaders and supporters.”

He further said that the assault was a blot on the nation’s ethos. “People of Odisha and West Bengal have held a close affinity for each other. At a personal level, as you know, my family and I have always shared a fond relationship with Odisha. The Constitution of India guarantees the right to live and earn freely and peacefully no matter where one might belong to. The assault on the people of Murshidabad must not become a blot on our nation’s ethos. I request you to take urgent cognizance of the matter and bring the culprits to book,” he added.

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