Xenophobia has finally gripped Bengalis. Ironically, for the sake of the dead Rizwanur Rehman they now hate the same Marwaris whom he loved in life. Bachi Karkaria writes in the Times of India how Rizwanur’s death is more of an occasion for Bengalis to vent their anger at rich Marwaris. The Marwari community is seen as an economic and cultural threat by the often less affluent Bengalis. Rizwan’s religion too provides a counterpoint to the Hindu homogeneity of the Marwaris. The mass-protests have become slightly hysterical subsuming other important issues affecting the people. The media is to be blamed for this. Rizwanur Rehman has become a Bengali hero. This author does not agree with Karkaria’s stand on the issue and points out that the ire of the Bengali people is towards the culprits, irrespective of their race.
The main points of the story are well known. Now, the CBI is investigating the death after the Calcutta High Court had ruled the CID enquiry illegal. In the meantime there seems to be no real breakthrough in the case. Only two new disturbing facts have emerged. First the role of the previous girl-friend has become more important. Secondly, the roles of some of the relatives of the Rehmans and also their acquaintances have some under investigation.
Rizwanur, it has emerged, had an affair with a classmate till at least 2004. She has informed investigators that Rizwanur had ditched her. He had apparently found her to be too high-strung. She had also asked Rizwan to marry her and be off to Delhi. To both the marriage proposal and the relocation to Delhi from Kolkata, Rizwanur had disagreed. The couple had parted ways, or so the classmate claims. After all this time, she has been hounded out by the media and her married life has become hellish. Also, very interestingly, Priyanka Todi and her father, the industrialist Ashok Todi, had contacted her to know whethere she was still in touch and in love with Rizwanur. It has emerged that Rizwanur had been in touch with her but she claims that there was nothing between them but only friendship throughout.
A real estate dealer and another man have been now implicated in threatening the Rehmans. They were family friends. Yet these two have done a turn-around and have declared their undying loyalties to the Rehmans and point fingers at the Todis for maligning them. They are Mr Hassan Ali and Mr Abdul Majid. Rizwan’s uncles have been accused of taking bribes from the Todis to separate the lovers. They too have denied the accusations publicly.
The pedestrian-walk outside St.Xavier’s College, Kolkata has turned into a shrine dedicated to the memory of Rizwanur Rehman. In spite of all the political parties trying to gain mileage from his untimely death, only one fact remains. We need to know the reasons for his death and what role, if any, the Kolkata police played in that death.