The Hush Post: In one of the most paramount examples of service before self, the imam of a mosque in Asansol told his supporters that he would leave the town if they retaliated for his son’s killing.
Sibtulla Rashidi, the imam’s son, was reported missing post the Ram Navami clashes that erupted in Asansol on Tuesday. While his body was found on Wednesday, it was identified on Thursday.
Talking to the Indian Express, the imam said “He was picked up by a group of miscreants. My older son alerted the police, but he was made to wait at the police station. We were later informed that a body had been recovered by the police.” It is believed that Sibtulla, who was appearing for his Class 10 examinations, by beaten to death by a mob.
Addressing people at the Eidgah Maidan, the imam said “I want peace. My boy has been taken away. I do not want any more families to lose their loved ones. I do not want any more houses to burn. I will leave Asansol if there is any kind of retaliation. If you love me, you will not raise a finger.”
Claiming that the incident was a conspiracy hatched by people who wanted to tear apart the social fabric of Asansol, the imam said that he gave the right kind of message to the people. During these tough times, it was necessary to give the message of peace. Acknowledging that he had to get over his personal loss, he said that the people of Asansol were not violent and everything must be done to restore normalcy to the region.
Describing this selfless deed of the imam, Jitendra Tiwari, Mayor of Asansol said “The Imam was instrumental in calming the angry youth and cooperated with the administration. We are proud of him. Despite the pain he is suffering following the loss of a son, he appealed for peace.”
Mohammed Nasim Ansari, councillor of Warn number 25, where the imam’s family lives, said “We did not expect this from a father who has just lost his son. This is an example, not only for Bengal but for the entire country. People started to cry after his speech. I was present there… I was awestruck. There was anger among the youth after the body was found, but the message for peace struck the right chord. He is popular in the area. If he had not appealed for peace, Asansol would have been caught in a fire.”
The Asansol-Raniganj area has been tense since Monday, when clashes broke out over Ram Navami celebrations.