West Bengal Will Look into the Bijon Massacre

Members of Ananda Marga offering obeisances at a memorial service near Bijon bridge, Kolkata, April 30, 2011
Members of Ananda Marga offering obeisances at a memorial service near Bijon bridge, Kolkata, April 30, 2011

(March 10, 2012) – 30 years after 17 Ananda Margis were burnt to death in Kolkata, the West Bengal government has formed an inquiry commission to look into the massacre.

The brutal killings took place on the Bijon bridge and two nearby locations in the southern part of the city on April 30, 1982 during the second term of the Left Front communist state government. The slaughter in broad daylight attracted widespread condemnation at that time but nobody was arrested and no fruitful investigations were conducted, PTI reports.

The primary reason for the massacre was the PROUT philosophy, the assistant district magistrate at the time, Sher Singh, stated in a televised interview last year. The Ananda Marga organisation promotes PROUT throughout India and the world as the alternative to communism and capitalism.

This week the West Bengal law minister, Moloy Ghatak, said that Justice (retd) Santosh Kumar Faujdar would head the one-man commission of inquiry and it had been asked to submit its report within six months. WB chief minister Mamata Banerjee had given her consent to the inquiry commission, Mr. Ghatak confirmed.

In the gruesome event, 16 monks and one nun of the Ananda Marga Pracharaka Samgha, on their way to a conference at the Ananda Marga organisational headquarters in the suburb of Tiljala, were dragged out of their vehicles, beaten mercilessly, drenched in acid, and set on fire in full public view on the Bijon bridge and around.

Officials said the National Human Rights Commission had taken up the investigation into the case in 1996, but it could not move forward due to alleged non-cooperation by the previous state government.

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