Two groups of followers of a Dalit sect had a fight on Tuesday on the possible effects of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in West Bengal, resulting in many injuries. This is for first time that the two sects of Matua Mahasangha, a socio-religious body of a predominantly Dalit refugee sect, the Matuas, fought publicly, “tarnishing” the image of the apolitical body, followers said.About 40-45 lakh Matua voters are spread over nearly 50 of the 294 Assembly segments in West Bengal. On Tuesday, one section of the Matuas, headed by the Matua Mahasangha’s chairperson Mamatabala Thakur, convened a meeting in its headquarters at Thakurnagar in North 24 Paraganas, about 70 km north of Kolkata. Ms. Thakur is a former MP of TMC, defeated by her brother-in-law’s son Shantanu Thakur of the BJP in the recent Lok Sabha election.“Our objective was to make people aware of the possible impact of NRC on people who came from Bangladesh. We also invited Muslims,” a disciple close to Ms. Thakur’s faction said. Mr. Thakur’s faction opposed it and campaigned in the area over the last few days against this meeting that was held to “build up resistance against the NRC”.Mr. Thakur’s faction allegedly attacked Ms. Thakur’s meeting, which took “a communal turn” as many Muslims were present. “They started shouting Jai Sri Ram and asked why Muslims are allowed to come inside Thakurbari [the headquarters],” the disciple said. They alleged that their leader Sukriti Ranjan Biswas was also beaten up. The other faction, led by Mr. Thakur, denied the allegation.“They [Ms. Thakur’s faction] held the meeting in the venue even though we were scheduled to hold a meeting there. Moreover, they got Muslims to enter Thakurbari.” said another disciple who is close to Mr. Thakur. He also added that Ms. Thakur’s faction was “spreading false news” about NRC despite BJP president Amit Shah’s statement.“Mr. Shah said that there won’t be any NRC in Bengal and they [Ms. Thakur’s faction] were insisting that the BJP will push people out of the country, so we had to protest,” the disciple said.The scuffle deeply disturbed the followers of the sect and one of the religious chiefs of a group, among the multiple bodies of Matuas, regretted the incident. “Matua Mahasangha was founded on basis of equality to all. We believe that people should not discriminate and fight on basis of religious or political ideology… There should not be a BJP versus TMC division among the Matuas, or else that philosophy is breached,” the chief said.
Kevin Pietersen says he is proud of his unbeaten double hundred that gave England the upperhand in the ongoing first cricket Test against India as he had never worked this hard for runs in his career.”It’s something to be proud of, definitely. There’s been some fairly complimentary thing being said to me in the dressing room. I’ve never had to work harder,” Pietersen, who made an unbeaten 202 in England’s 474 declared, said after the second day’s play on Friday.”With the conditions I batted in, and having to face MS Dhoni for half an hour as well, I reckon it’s right up there with the hundreds I’ve scored. They bowled really well in swinging conditions and the pitch was seaming as well. I was missing balls by a couple of inches on occasions… it was real hard graft,” he added.About the course of the match, he expects the ball to seam and swing to put Indians in a spot of bother.”History tells us that getting result at the Lord’s is quite difficult. But the wicket we have at the moment is aiding seam and swing and we all know swing is alien to Indian batting,” Pietersen stated.Emboldened with his success, Pietersen revealed his ambition to enter the 10,000 Test runs club now that he has completed 6,000 runs.”I would love to have (10,000 runs). I love to set goal for myself and hopefully I would reach there if I bat this way.”This is Pietersen’s 18th century in his 75th Test but quite uncharacteristically, he never have had to graft in the manner he has done at Lord’s over the last two days.advertisement”The conditions were very difficult and they bowled very well. Sometimes you were playing and missing by couple of inches. It was a real hard graft. It made you wonder if India were batting yesterday where they must have been,” Pietersen said.Pietersen also gave credit to Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott for consuming a lot of overs.”Credit to the first three batsmen (deserve credit) for they ate up a lot of balls. Trott was magnificent again and Strauss batted for 80 balls which was great under the circumstances.”When it’s seaming and swinging you try to get overs in the other bowlers. They did a great job for men like Prior and Swann to take advantage of what’s been created a day before.Bell also batted beautifully.”Pietersen had two moments of anxiety — the first, when he was on 49 and Rahul Dravid appeared to have caught a chance at leg slip before replays ruled it in his favour.The second moment arrived when he was on 73 and umpire Billy Bowden gave him out caught behind off Dhoni only for the Decision Review System (DRS) to come to his aid.”I was on 49 when Rahul used the technology. He wasn’t sure (so he did it). He is a fantastic servant of the game, a true Indian legend. I have played with him in IPL for 2-3 years and there is no way he would have claimed a catch when he knew it wasn’t out.”As for the second chance, I had to review it. I can’t get out to Dhoni. Having said so it was difficult to see him through. He was moving it both ways and it was nipping around.He is a talented man.”Another Indian for whom Pietersen has only admiration and affection is Praveen Kumar, who grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests. .”I captained him for a year in the IPL. He is fantastic and a very skillful bowler. If there is anyone in the Indian team, I would be happy to have got five wickets, it would be PK. He is a fantastic guy,” Pietersen said.Pietersen revealed that England had decided in advance to give Indians half an hour of batting on Friday evening.”We wanted to bowl for half an hour at Indians. I kept passing messages to Strauss that if he really wanted to pull us out (declare) now, there are no dramas. My 200 wasn’t important?I had scored quite a few runs already. Team is more important and not a 200 in a Test match.”Pietersen took a dig at his critics who have been terming his form as none too great in recent times.”It’s been only six matches that I haven’t scored a century. I got a 85 against Sri Lanka in 100 balls.”You do go through good patches and bad patches. As long as you are true to yourself and continue to do hard work, you have to be rewarded.”advertisementPietersen returned to speak about Sachin Tendulkar around whom there is a huge expectation to get his 100th international century.”There are a lot of great cricketers who haven’t done well at Lord’s ? Warne, Ponting for example. We would try and make sure Sachin doesn’t get a hundred.”He also didn’t find fault with Harbhajan Singh’s bowling who went wicketless but conceded over 150 runs in England innings.”Harbhajan bowled very well. Harbhajan on that wicket which was friendly to seamers, tied it down. On occasions, even I found it very hard to score. I don’t think he bowled badly,” he concluded.