Kolkata: A strange fatwa was issued in the state of West Bengal. From now on, if anyone watches television or listens to music, then the person will have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000, the order states. Such fatwas have been issued in several villages of Murshidabad. Most worryingly, the organisation called the Social Reform Committee, which issued the fatwa, includes three local Trinamool leaders.

Such a fatwa on this has been issued at a time when Mamata Banerjee is in power. While the world is progressing day by day, several villages in the state are lagging behind with restrictions such as these, remarked many, who criticised the inability of authorities to change the mindset of people in the village, which sees an imposition of such a ban.

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Villagers have to pay an amount of fine for disregarding the fatwa. The elders of the village have fixed the amount of fine. It has been decided that if anyone watches a television set up in a village shop, a fine of Rs 1,000 will be imposed. The same fine will be imposed for listening to music. If anybody is found listening to music on his mobile, he will be called and placed in an arbitration meeting.

This is not the end; the fatwa has also been issued against playing carom.

Nobody will be allowed to buy or sell lottery tickets. In this case, the lottery ticket seller will be fined Rs 7,000. The one buying a lottery ticket will need to pay a fine of Rs 2,000.

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People have called this a crime by a group of people causing suffering to all villagers, while collecting money in the name of fatwa.

People have raised questions as to why the police are not taking any action even after watching all these happenings in front of the administration. Their collective question: “Every time police are seen filing a case for the smallest of crimes, then why is the police so silent about this incident?”

According to locals, the geographical location of the remote village of Murshidabad is a big issue in this regard. The geographical map says that Advaitnagar of Raghunathganj sub-division is actually a village adjacent to Jharkhand. With the onset of monsoons, the Bonsalai River completely isolates the village from the main urban terrain. Therefore, these villages are not paid any heed by police administration and the villagers are exploited by few elder people in the village, as alleged.

Police officials upon receiving word of the ongoing expressed intent to act on the issue. They said proper action will be taken if anybody complains against the fatwa. But the villagers were very afraid to make any complaint. Therefore, no complaint was lodged, and the police did not take any action. A total of 12,000 residents comprise the three villages. The Social Reform Committee has authority over them.

According to the fatwa of the committee, in addition to the ban on watching television and listening to music, the committee will take strict action if somebody drinks alcohol or deals with lottery tickets. Villagers cannot hear music be it on mobiles and computers. If found guilty, they will have to pay a fine between Rs 500-Rs 6000. The Social Reform Committee has also arranged “honours” for those who hand over the accused.