West Bengal: Madrasa Teachers Asked To Leave Hotel Allege Communal Bias
The guest house owner has denied charges and said that it was a misunderstanding.
A police complaint was been lodged on Monday, September 21 by 10 madrasa teachers from Malda who came to Kolkata's Salt Lake area for some work purpose where they were denied rooms at a guest house in the township because of their religion.
The teachers including eight headmasters and two assistant teachers from different institutions visited Salt Lake to submit some important documents at the state education department headquarters, Bikash Bhavan.
The teachers had booked rooms in the guest house in Salt Lake's DL Block but the owner asked them to shift to some other guest house in the CL Block. An employee of the last-mentioned guest house in CL Block asked them leave after three hours.
The West Bengal Teachers forum, Aikya Mukto Mancha, emailed the complaint to the Bidhannagar Police Commissioner and the Bidhannagar East Police Station's officer-in-charge. However, the guest house owner has denied charges and said that it was a misunderstanding.
When the teachers asked them the reason to the CL Block employee, they said that the neighbours are not allowing Muslims to stay in the area. The General Secretary of the forum, Moidul Islam said that the three rooms were booked by him at the DL Block's guest house and he had also paid in advance for the rooms morning till afternoon.
Six teachers arrived in a car while four others came in a bus at 6 am. The DL Block employee came to receive them but they were escorted to another guest house in the CL Block. The primary contact between the guest houses and the teachers, Islam was quoted by Times of India as saying, "After some time, the manager asked them to leave."
"The teachers approached me. When I asked the manager of the DL Block guest house why, he said there were objections as they were Muslim. We have alerted the police and the chief minister's office," he added.
An employee from the DL Block guest house said that he was not aware of the issue and there was a booking error. "There was a mistake. We told them our rooms were full and arranged for their stay at the guest house in CL Block. We do not know what happened there," the employee said.
The owner of the CL Block guest house, Tanmay Mukherjee said that he was asked to book three rooms for the teachers by a friend from the DL Block guest house. He was also requested to book the room for only three hours following which the teachers would leave. Therefore, he asked them to leave as the three hours were over and not because of their religion.
Mukherjee also claimed to have opened three rooms for them without charging anything and asked them to leave at around 9 am. Since they did not have a hotel booked for a stay at that time, he allowed them to wait at a ceremony hall at CJ Block but he couldn't allot them a room there as well and so they eventually left.
Five employees from the CL Block guest house have been detained for questioning. "We are questioning the hotel staff and are verifying the facts with the complainant and the teachers over phone, as they have already left for Malda," Bidhannagar Police Commissioner Shri Mukhesh said.
All the headmasters felt insulted and humiliated following the incident. "This is very unfortunate. It must be probed whether some local residents had really objected, or whether the matter occurred according to instructions from someone from the guest house," Basab Basak of the FE Block welfare association said.