DNA - India - Brahmin priest punished for Muslim kid care - Daily News & Analysis
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Thursday, November 20, 2008 03:53 IST
KOLKATA: A Brahmin priest was made to atone for inviting a Muslim kid to his house for dinner. The Trinamool Congress village panchayat humiliated the 50-year-old priest in public.
They made him and his family undergo a ritual cleansing bath and then made him cut nails of his family members. They next asked him to shave his head, but he refused.
Lakshmikanta Chakrabarti, a Brahmin priest at Chandramer village in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district, is very fond of Sheikh Chottu, a Muslim orphan who works at a garment factory near his house.
Chottu being his son Shankar’s friend, he got to meet him more often. The friendship was not objected to, but elected representatives of the village panchayat did not appreciate the priest inviting the kid for dinner.
Panchayat deputy chief Adhikari and panchayat member Narayan Chandra Maiti summoned Chakrabarti to an open court and ordered him to atone. They made him take a cleansing dip with his family and cut their nails.
Chakrabarti obeyed to save his job. The panchayat next ordered him to shave his head. But the old priest would yield no more. So the panchayat leaders ordered boycott of his priestly services at the local temple and at individual houses.
Chakrabarti approached the police but no help was given. The police now claim ignorance about the whole incident. Senior Trinamool Congress leaders promised help but nothing has been done yet.
Their aloofness, however has only served to strengthen Chakrabarti’s resolve. “If necessary, I will leave my house with my family and take shelter on roads,” he said.
Panchayat member Trilochon Gorai said he had heard of the incident but was not sure if it was true. “I will look into it. In all probability it is a conspiracy to malign our members,” he said.