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Crowd surges, family of Anis Khan forced to shut home

The gathering comprised mostly of villagers, who are either masons, mechanics or work abroad in Saudi Arabia, and women, who are all homemakers

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Amta (Howrah) Published 24.02.22, 02:14 AM
Residents of South Khan Para outside the home of deceased Anis Khan on Wednesday.

Residents of South Khan Para outside the home of deceased Anis Khan on Wednesday. Picture by Arkamoy Datta Majumdar

South Khan Para, a nondescript village under Kushberia panchayat near Amta in Howrah district, woke up last Saturday to the news of one of its beloved sons being allegedly thrown off the roof of his house to death.

Around 55km from Calcutta, the village has rarely slept since then.


Members of Bengal’s intelligentsia, politicians, celebrities, Islamic clerics, police officers and journalists have flocked to the house of Anis Khan since the news of his “murder”, allegedly by cops, broke on Saturday morning.

What has been even more overwhelming is the hordes of local people, who have either shared a cordial relationship with the bereaved family or have suddenly discovered a strong attachment with Anis after his death.

Almost every other individual frequenting Anis’s house or randomly sitting on a chair or curiously struggling to peek at those calling on the family claimed to be a “relative” of the Khan family.

One such person who was present in the crowd at the “slain” student leader’s home on Wednesday was Sabir Khan, who shares the name of Anis’s elder brother. When The Telegraph asked him why he was present at Anis’s home, Sabir claimed to be a “family member”. Sabir said he was a mason but had decided to “stand beside the family in these difficult times”.

The family has hosted the crowd for four days straight. However, on Wednesday, it became too much for them to bear the commotion. As the flow of the crowd refused to ebb, they went for the ultimate — locked the main entrance to the house, a collapsible gate.

“My father is ill. He needs some peace,” said Anis’s elder brother Sabir Khan as he requested the people to stay away. Salem Khan, the father of the deceased, has mostly confined himself to his room since Monday evening.

Despite Sabir’s plea, the crowd swelled in front of the house and grew impatient when Tollywood actors and activists Rahul Arunodoy Banerjee and Badshah Moitra arrived, along with other theatre personalities, around 2.30pm. The gate was opened to let them in. As many villagers recognised Rahul, the crowd grew thick. Many even requested Rahul for a photograph with them.

Raup Khan, who claimed to be Anis’s uncle, was seen asking people to leave the house after the actors had left. He said: “Let his father (Salem Khan) take rest.”

However, the same Raup had been seen minutes earlier standing beside Rahul to be within the frame of television cameras.

Just before the group of actors entered Anis’s house, Mousumi Koyal and Tumpa Koyal — the duo who had made headlines during the protests at Kamduni in North 24-Parganas in 2013 — called on the family. They left the house much after Rahul and Badshah had left.

However, the crowd refused to leave the premises of Anis’s home and at this point, the family members were again forced to shut the gate after getting most of the people out.

The crowd comprised mostly villagers, who are either masons, mechanics or work abroad in Saudi Arabia, and women, who are all homemakers. Though fluent in Bengali, the villagers switch to local dialect when they converse amongst themselves. The dialect is interspersed with Hindi and Bengali words, which a villager said had been passed down to them through generations.

“We Khans are Pathans. This is our language,” a villager said. He refused to give his name but boasted of his surname, “Khan”. Asked about the local dialect, the elderly villager said he was equally curious about how it evolved but even his father or grandfather did not have an answer.

Apart from the milling crowd around Anis’ home since Saturday, local club — Sarada Abdul Taj Club — has opened doors for people eager to catch latest news on investigations into the student leader’s “murder”.

Opposite to the club and under a banner that demanded justice for Anis, a group of young men was seen chatting amongst themselves for most part of the day. Asked if they did not have work to do, one of the youths said: "Chhuti niyechhi (I've taken an off)." Another, shook his head and said that he'll go to work soon.

Though the crowd and the growing chaos seemed to have been too much for the grieving family’s comfort, it is also true that villagers have firmly stood by them to demand a CBI probe into Anis's death. The demand for justice was once again echoed later in the evening in front of the Amta police station. SFI and DYFI leaders, Moyukh Biswas, Minakshi Mukherjee and others, held a protest rally and asked the state government to bring the “killer of Anis” to book.

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