Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) condemns the detention of members of AAMRA SACHETAN PRAYAS FORUM who were in Telinipara in West Bengal for a fact finding visit. CSSS supports AAMRA as one of its peace centres. Telinipara recently witnessed communal violence. The fact finding team visited Telinipara on 10th June, 2020 to assess the need of relief efforts in terms of medical camps, distribution of relief material like garments and food. Both the Muslims and Hindus were affected with the communal violence and suffered further due to the crushing lockdown owing to COVID pandemic.
AAMRA in these adverse conditions has been intervening at multiple levels- carrying out fact finding to unearth the truth behind the communal violence, initiating peace building process amongst communities and arranging for relief work for both the communities. The fact finding team was merely interacting with some of the victims and taking photographs of the damaged properties when the police stopped them. The team was intercepted by the police and detained for about three hours for questioning and deterring them from interacting with the affected people. Inspite of no illegal action by the fact finding team, the police acted in a high handed manner. This action could dampen the selfless work by civil society organizations like AAMRA which are helping out vulnerable groups during challenging times marked by pandemic, poverty and hatred. CSSS appeals for justice and cooperation from all quarters for such initiatives.